Obesity rates tripled in the past thirty years, a trend that means for the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents. Food Matters NYC is addressing this issue head on with the introduction of the Early Childhood Palate Development Program. This exclusive and proprietary nutrition counseling service aims to metabolically program children to seek out healthy, whole foods.
The first of its kind the Early Childhood Palate Development Program is designed as a seven to ten session course for new and experienced parents. The program develops menus replete with whole foods for babies and toddlers. Introducing and consistently providing whole foods to children will metabolically program children on a cellular level to make healthy food choices. Parents can expect their children’s bodies to respond positively in a variety of areas including digestion and behavior, which directly affect their emotions and social interactions. Over a two to three year period, children will be able to recognize good food choices from bad and will seek out healthier foods as a direct response to how their bodies react. The program may be introduced to children as early as six months old.
The Food Matters NYC team supports parents in the comfort of their home, via phone or e-consultations to assess culinary knowledge, set goals, and design a customized program that suits a child’s needs. Parents are literally or virtually taken through the aisles of the market highlighting the benefits of locally grown, organic, seasonal foods. The program also arms parents with shopping and storing tips and helps them become label literate. A Food Matters NYC chef will create custom recipes and highlight instructions for execution. For New York City area participants a hands-on cooking instruction in a client’s kitchen rounds out the final session. Parents learn fun and engaging ways to connect their children to the food, including food origins. In person sessions are sixty to ninety minutes depending on need and costs $1,050–$1,500. Phone and e-consultations are sixty minutes and costs $700–$1,000. Courses are seven to ten weeks in length.
My talents for culinary nutrition have been put to good use with my role as the Food Director and Nutrition Consultant for the Tribeca Community School. I also conduct nutrition education, cooking classes and after-school workshops with private schools like Calhoun and Corlears. The Early Childhood Palate Development Program was developed shortly after the birth of my four-year-old son. It was a way to combine my executive chef experience with my passion for nutrition education.
Exposing kids to fresh, organic foods will prevent obesity, disease and promote emotional, physical and intellectual health. At Food Matters NYC we work tirelessly at getting children to develop intuitive eating techniques that become healthy lifelong habits. Getting children to participate in sensory activities also supports their interest in trying new things. We allow children to touch and play with food, showing them whenever possible where it comes from. This type of interaction engages the child and makes new foods less frightening.
Michelle Obama so passionately believes in raising a healthier generation of kids through the Let’s Move initiative and the Early Childhood Palate Development Program is my resolution to eradicating the ever-growing epidemic of childhood obesity and disease. My wish is that the program educates, inspires and motivates parents to get their children started early on a path to health and wellness. After all, you are what you eat!