A theme that has emerged in the past decade is a reconnection with food, in the kitchen and through family mealtimes, as seen in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaigns. A big reason for this is our country’s ongoing obesity epidemic, now having successfully invaded the youngest of generations. The Healthy Monday campaign, started in 2005 through Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University, is an innovative concept that features Mondays as the perfect day to start healthy behaviors. Just as many of us initiate health-related New Year’s resolutions on January 1, Mondays carry the same “new beginnings” feel to motivate us toward making positive changes. Joanna Lee, a spokesperson for the campaign, says “We consider Monday to be the New Years of every week, but because there are 52 Mondays a year, our participants are likely to keep up their health resolutions week to week.”
The Kids Cook Monday is one program in the campaign that stemmed from increasing research showing the health benefits of families who eat dinner together regularly. Of course, we are a fast food nation and eating together doesn't necessarily guarantee healthful meals but according to the Bureau of Labor, meals eaten with families consist of about 50% more fruits and vegetables than meals eaten alone, and family meals are three times more likely to include low fat choices and less soda. Children in families who eat together tend to get better grades in school, talk to their parents when they have a problem, and experience a lower incidence of obesity. The Kids Cook Monday encourages families to continue this effort all year, using the first day of the week as a reminder to involve the family each week. If parents set aside time with their children not only to eat but cook together, the whole family learns about food and portion sizes (portion distortion is one of the top reasons why people gain weight, even when eating fat-free and reduced calorie foods). The Kids Cook Monday website offers yummy, nutritious kid-friendly recipes categorized by age with specific instructions on how children can assist with preparation.
Joanna notes that bloggers can play a special role in this campaign: “We’d love it if parent bloggers did weekly The Kids Cook Monday posts, detailing their family dinner through family cooking videos, sharing kid-friendly recipes, or describing their dinner experience with photos.” If you cook regularly with your kids and want to take part in this great campaign and potentially be featured on The Kids Cook Monday web page, please contact Joanna Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.