Keeping kids healthy is a matter of real food

Karen Kennedy, MS, Certified Nutritionist

photo by anni becker

Karen Kennedy, MS, Certified Nutritionist
Real Food Matters
Kennedy teaches cooking, nutrition and health classes to people of all ages — and she also taught yoga for 15 years. But can you guess what her favorite class is? Knife skills!

To Karen Kennedy, real food matters. Finishing her graduate studies in nutrition led her to working on a large-scale organic farm in England and to opening a nutrition practice in Bristol. While living abroad, she consulted with individuals and families, and taught nutrition and cooking classes. After starting her family, she moved back to the states with her husband. A position with Washington State University put her in front of Vancouver public school students teaching nutrition and cooking, as well as adult diabetes education, all while establishing her family’s five-acre homestead in La Center, the Rippl Family Farm. Today, Kennedy has re-established her practice, and she has begun corporate wellness classes, community classes at such venues as Cotton Babies in Vancouver, individual consulting and working directly with patients referred from Dr. Josephine Drew at Ridgefield Family Medicine.

Kennedy’s breadth of knowledge and ability is wide, but a significant focus is on teaching folks about the importance of consuming real foods. Children, she said, are the “most vulnerable” to a food system that can no longer be trusted to nourish people. “They are growing so quickly,” she said. “They are the most important ones.”

When asked what is the most important advice she has for parents about how to nourish their children, she said parents need to provide completely unprocessed or very minimally processed foods. She encourages people to see what they can make at home, to try preparing traditional, healthy foods. For example, she said, “You can make yogurt at home. Go-Gurt is a real stretch from what you can make at home.”

She also said to “make sure kids get protein with each meal. Call it their growing food – the language we use with kids is very important. They are always trying to be a bigger person.”

Because her own kids are in school, Kennedy also notes a health-disrupting trend of often rewarding children with sugary snacks and “treats.”

“Treats are great, like a birthday cake or celebratory meal, and making cookies together. But a treat isn’t a treat when you get it everyday.”

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