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Travelling Kitchen: Proving That Healthy Tastes Best!

Posted by: info@esthergodoy.com on September 17, 2015

You hear it all the time. The media is constantly discussing the health crisis that Australia is suffering, including rising obesity rates, type 2-diabetes and other lifestyle induced diseases. Much of the focus in this sphere has turned to educating children on health and wellness in the effort to alleviate any future lifestyle induced diseases.

And rightfully so. Healthy habits are adopted from a young age, so many children are simply not exposed to cooking, nutrition and general wellbeing practices.

Karen Koutsodontis has taken it upon herself to change this. This qualified food technology teacher, with more than 15 years experience educating secondary students about food travels around Melbourne hosting cooking and nutrition classes in schools, and even pre-schools all over Melbourne.

“We we need to get the message to kids earlier about healthy eating habits, and why not start at primary and pre-school,” Karen tells me.

“Children absorb so much information when they are young, and we want to get across healthy messages that they will carry through their lives.”

The The Travelling Kitchen was adopted when Karen was asked to run cooking sessions at her son’s kindergarten.

“I thought if they were interested in having someone with expertise run a session for them, with all equipment provided and planning done, taking away the stress from the teachers, then I am going to run with this idea.”

She has never looked back. The Travelling Kitchen’s programs are about learning to cook, incorporating nutrition into the mindset of young children and getting them involved in the entire process, from preparing fresh produce to eating what they have made. These programs also encourage children to use literacy and numeracy skills, cooperation, teamwork and engagement and connectedness. All ingredients and most equipment are provided, so all the students and teachers have to do is get involved and enjoy!

Karen discloses that too many kids tell her that they don’t think vegetables taste good and don’t eat much of the good stuff, which is extremely worrying.

These behaviours are developed at home from an extremely young age, as the parenting unit are the role models and educators for their children from day one.

“The eating habits of parents and their relationship with food and their own bodies have a huge influence on their child,” exclaims Karen.

“Parents need to understand how influential they can be in priming children’s relationship with food.”

Therefore introducing children to cooking is essential to help them understand what real food is and how to appreciate what they are eating.

All Karen wants to achieve with The Travelling Kitchen is to make a positive difference to the health and lives of children by enhancing their relationship with food. The feedback that she has received has been overwhelming, with many parents sending their gratitude for getting their kids to try new foods that they refused to before, and even having students write in thank you notes.

“If I can create a memory for a child of a positive healthy cooking experience, I know this will stay with them forever,” Karen tells me.

“I remember my first cooking experience at school, what we made, what equipment we used and who my teacher was. All the details are etched in my memory.”

Karen knows that she is making a wonderful difference with The Travelling Kitchen. She has received reports from parents telling her that their child/children have enjoyed the workshop immensely, and even teachers have told her that she has managed to engage kids who are usually disruptive or have learning difficulties.

“I know that healthy eating messages are getting through and I hope that this memory will be referred to in their food choices for the rest of their lives.”

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