Most people can remember being forced to sit at the table as children until all the food was gone from their plate. As adults, some may still dread eating certain foods because of the experience.
The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is set to offer Little Books and Little Cooks, an educational health and cooking program, at local libraries and community centers to help parents and children overcome bad eating habits. The Extension is an outreach college of the University of Nevada, Reno and offers education, training and instruction to Nevada residents.
The seven-week program starts in June and is designed to teach healthy eating and nutrition while developing positive interaction between parents and children 3 to 6.
Dr. YaeBin Kim, an extension specialist of early care and education, created the program two years ago.
“Cooking is one of the most difficult interactive activities because there are messes and things everywhere,” Kim said. “Parents and children will learn how to interactive positively, and we hope that they will continue these types of activities after the program is done.”
Participants are expected to learn about food safety; the five food groups; fruits and vegetables; cooking with kids; cultural foods; feeding, hunger and fullness; and picky eating tips.
“Each week is a different topic and includes a lot of hands-on experience,” Kim said. “For example, the first week they will learn about the importance of germ protection and practice washing their hands properly.
“The second week, they will make a pasta salad that includes the five food groups. The children will learn how to eat together, use table manners and clean up.”
The workshop is set to teach parents how to create healthy eating habits, improve their self-parenting skills and overcome picky eating behavior.
“Parents will learn that their feeding style is related to their parenting skills,” Kim said. “Picky eating is common among preschoolers, so we want to help parents encourage their children to eat new foods.”
The children are scheduled to also learn school-readiness skills and how to explore new foods.
“The children will be learning how to share and stand in line in a classroom setting,” Kim said. “They will also learn how to improve their fine motor skills by using utensils, math skills by counting and measuring, science skills by watching how things change, and vocabulary skills by reading books about healthy eating.”
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District began hosting the program last year, according to youth services coordinator Mary Nelson Brown.
“We’ve partnered with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension for other programs, so it was a natural fit to start offering the Little Books and Little Cooks program,” Nelson Brown said. “We like the program because it connects with the additional self-parenting and preschool programming we do at the libraries.”
Kim said, “If children can learn these healthy habits when they’re young, we hope it will influence them throughout their whole life. If parents learn to eat healthy, even if they’re older, it affects them and their family, and that’s our goal.”
The program schedule at the library district is: June 9, 10:30 a.m. to noon, the Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Ave.; June 10, 10:30 a.m. to noon, the West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd.; June 10, 2 to 3:30 p.m., the Spring Valley Library, 4280 S. Jones Blvd.; and June 11, 10:30 a.m. to noon, the Rainbow Library, 3150 N. Buffalo Drive.
At Henderson Libraries, the schedule is: June 12, 1 to 3 p.m. the Gibson Library, 100 W. Lake Mead Parkway; and June 13, 10 to 11 a.m., the Green Valley Library, 2797 N. Green Valley Parkway.
The program is also scheduled for June 25 at the Cambridge Community Center, 3900 Cambridge St., Suite 101.
Each program is limited to 10 families with two children per family. Registration is required. Spanish classes are available.
For more information, visit lvccld.org or mypubliclibrary.com or call 702-222-3130.
Contact Southwest View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.