Bringing back home economics

homeeconomicsIn today’s technologically driven schools, the idea of home economics classes, which were designed to arm kids with half a dozen easy-to-cook recipes, seems a little dated. And faced with busy academic schedules, schools have largely abandoned these lessons. But given the current epidemic of childhood obesity, is this really the smartest move?  In a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), David Ludwig, MD, PhD, argues that instruction in basic food preparation and meal planning are essential for today’s kids, who can’t rely on their parents to teach them these skills.

(Read a related post from Thrive that asks whether it’s realistic to expect marketers to make changes on their own to how they market unhealthy foods to kids, or whether the government should get involved.)

Many parents never learned to cook and instead rely on restaurants, take-out food, frozen meals and packaged food as basic fare. Many children seldom experience what a true home-cooked meal taste like, much less what goes into preparing it. Work schedules and child extracurricular programs frequently preclude involving children in food shopping and preparation. The family dinner has become the exception rather than the rule.

A comprehensive curriculum to teach students about the scientific and practical aspects of food might include basic cooking techniques; caloric requirements; sources of food, from farm to table; budget principles; food safety; nutrient information, where to find it and how to use it; and effects of food on well-being and risk for chronic disease. This curriculum wold provide adolescents with, especially at the high school level, with the skills they nee to become confident in selecting handling and preparing food.

What do you think? Should home economics classes be reintroduced into our schools? If so, what specifically should kids be taught? Did you learn anything in school that helped you prepare healthful meals for your family?

4 thoughts on “Bringing back home economics

  1. Yes, home economics may seem outdated but it’s time for us to get back to the basics. Kids need to know what real food is – unprocessed whole foods, veggies, fruits and organic dairy and meats. And they need to learn how to cook some pretty basic meals. Just think of the impact if each child knew how to prepare 7 wholesome meals!

    1. Home Economics is now called Family & Consumer Science Education! It is updated and Very current! Thank you for supporting us!

  2. I completely agree. If children learn how to eat healthy and are taught how to do it themselves they’ll be more invested in their own health.

  3. I definitely learned about healthy eating in my home ec classes. It was fun, useful, and actually one of the skills I use every single solitary day. Now that I think about it, home ec was probably the most useful course I took!
    And when thinking about what kids eat today, that their parents rarely have time or interest or energy to prepare meals from scratch, I’d say home ec would be vital to our youth.
    I work with young female athletes and what they eat is obviously essential to their success. But what any young person eats is actually essential to their success.
    Through home ec classes kids learn to cook for sure, but they also learn that cooking is relaxing, fun, and interactive. By learning from educators who can teach through example about what is healthy, all the different varieties of foods, the food chain, and so much more kids can start their personal eating habits from a place of knowledge and strength rather than just grabbing whatever happens to be easiest and quickest.
    So my vote is an emphatic yes to bringing back home ec to schools.

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