5B45

How to turn mealtime into a brain building activity for young children

Oct 11, 2021, 8:44 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Eating foods loaded with vitamins and nutrients is important for brain development in young children, but child education experts say there’s even more you can do in the kitchen to make it a meaningful experience.

When Rachel Wright drops off her two sons at daycare, she knows they’re in good hands.

“I don’t have to worry about trying to pack in the lunch or have a snack ready,” she said.

Their day starts with a nutritious meal.

Jessica Lloyd, owner of the Creative Learning Academy of Utah, said healthy food helps children focus.

They try to serve lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid processed meat and make everything homemade.

“It opens up their brain to be able to learn and to interact,” she explained.

She said it can also play an important part in brain development.

“Their brains are just ready to pick up whatever we have for them,” Lloyd said.

She encouraged parents to talk with their kids at mealtimes.

“Talking about how it’s made, where it comes from,” she suggested. “The texture, the taste, the color, the shape, and then just encouraging them, you know, ‘You might not think you like it, but have you tried it?’”

Wright practices pronouncing and reading letters and words on food packaging with her 3-year-old, Max.

“We were just eating some Cheerios and he I was just pointing at letters and he was like ‘the A says Ah,’” she recalled.

Wright was impressed by his growth.

“I was completely blown away at how he was getting them off a random package!” she said laughing.

Lloyd encouraged parents to read recipes together with their children.

“These letters form words and that tells mom what to do,” she explained.

She said cooking or baking together is also a good opportunity to practice counting with your child.

“There’s so much you can do with math with cooking,” Lloyd said. “This is one cup, and a half a cup is half of that, like even just those conversations.”

It can even be a form of play.

Wright pulled out baking kits with her children this summer in the kitchen. She said her boys loved it.

“[The] kitchen ends up being a disaster, but they have a blast,” she said.

Lloyd told parents to let their children them help plan and shop for meals.

“Giving them a voice and a choice in that process is really important,” she explained.

She said preparing or sharing meals together is one of the best forms of love and is a great way to create meaningful memories.

“Because we’re teaching them how to take care of their bodies and we’re also pouring love into the food we’re making,” she said.

Wright is grateful for the experiences she’s had in the kitchen with her own boys.

“They are just, you know, the light of my life. They just have brought so much joy,” she said.

For more ideas on how to make eating healthy meals fun and engaging for your kids, visit the 5B45 website.

KSL 5 TV Live

5B45

The Department of Cultural and Community Engagement's STEM for Milo + Friends....

Debbie Worthen

Utah STEM program aims to help parents prepare children for success with conversation cards

When it comes to preparing your child for kindergarten, there is one score that experts now say can determine all kinds of life success, and it's not reading. It's math.

2 days ago

An educator reading to young kids at the Salt Lake City Library....

Debbie Worthen

Experts say 1,000 books before kindergarten helps develop a love for reading

A Utah program is aiming to foster an appreciation for literature for early cognitive development by getting kids to read 1,000 books before kindergarten.

1 month ago

For every parent of young kids, it's no secret, "sharing" isn't something that comes naturally for ...

Debbie Worthen

For children, sharing isn’t easy, but it’s an important part in their social development

For every parent of young kids, it's no secret, "sharing" isn't something that comes naturally for most children. But it's an important part of their social development.

3 months ago

Meghan Ballard shows her three-year-old games on the IPad....

Ashley Moser

Balancing screen time with small children: Consider content, not time experts say

When it comes to letting your young children use iPads, computers, or your phone, how much technology is too much? 

7 months ago

Elsie and Evelyn Wong...

Ashley Moser

Kindergarten teacher gives tips on preparing your little one starting school in the fall

With summer just around the corner, parents may be wondering what activities they can do with their little ones to gear up for kindergarten in the fall.

10 months ago

Alexis McComb reads with her daughter...

Ashley Moser

Everyday tips to make reading fun and engaging for young children

Reading is essential for a child's development, but it can be a struggle to get them to engage with books. 

12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

How to turn mealtime into a brain building activity for young children