…or how one family discovered Pick Chow!
I am a non-cooking, nutritionally-impaired mom who has recently embarked on a journey to teach my family how to eat healthier meals. As I mentioned last week, I am going to be using ZisBoomBah as a tool to help us get there. My daughter Anna is six years old and my son Kellen is three. I think it is the perfect time to start teaching them good habits that will give them a strong foundation for their future health.
This past week, I introduced the kids to the ZisBoomBah website for the first time. The vibrant colors and ant characters (Zis, Boom, and Bah) immediately drew them in. Anna, my first grader, was especially interested to see what the site had to offer.
I didn’t want to overwhelm them (or me) with too much information at once, so we focused our attention on the Pick Chow! page. This is an interactive game that lets kids literally pick their “chow.” It is very cool!
Pick Chow offers a blank plate with sections that include each of the food categories: fruit, vegetables, grains and starchy veggies, meat & beans, dairy, and dessert. In a sidebar box on the left, kids (or adults) can choose from dozens of different foods in each of these categories and drag them onto the plate to create a meal. As they do this, they get instant feedback about whether the food choice is healthy or not healthy. There are easy-to-understand meters that measure levels of protein, carbs, fat, fiber, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. For example, if you select “large French fries,” the meters for protein, carbs, fat, and fiber all point to red for “bad,” instead of green for “good.” Pick Chow! educates you in making complete meals. Kids quickly learn that large French fries don’t make a complete meal and they need to add some healthy items to their plate too to make up for the lack of nutrients.
The goal for kids using Pick Chow is to build a “five-star” meal. To do this, they have to carefully select a balanced amount of foods from the different food groups. Anna quickly latched on to this concept and had a great time figuring out how to plan a yummy five-star meal. Here is a short video clip of her getting excited about her Pick Chow choices.
Clearly, we still have lots of work to do with Kellen.
I must admit that I was learning right along with Anna because I really had no idea what it took to create a five-star meal. Sad, but true. I finally realized that in order to get five stars, I didn’t need to have something from the meat and beans group. My five-star recipe for a healthy lunch turned out to be two slices of whole wheat bread, one slice of cheddar cheese, one apple, one cup of blackberries, four small spears of asparagus and three cherry tomatoes. I like how Pick Chow not only tells you what foods are healthiest, but also gives you portion sizes. And…this part is really great…you have to create a five-star meal before it will let you add a dessert!
Anna LOVES Pick Chow. I knew she would. This is a kid who loves cooking and meal planning anyway, and I feel like I have been robbing her of great opportunities by not caring about those things much myself. Now we are both excited about planning some healthy family meals on Pick Chow and actually making them. Our journey is well underway.