Try Letting Your Kids Play with Food

It is all about couriosity and discovery with kids. But, when we sit them down and tell them to eat this or that they are mostly reluctant. Use reverse psychology to get them to eat their fruits, veggies, yogurts etc. Try games and putting out foods they are allowed to play with. More than likely they will go for it.

A simple and nutricious snack we had the other day was a success – for many! The project was “Playing with Food” at the local mall. With no real guidelines to follow, I was allowed to be creative and practically had an unlimited budget.

IMG_7455They key was imagination. Set up an imagination station. I chose a farmers market. The kids were given bags and were allowed to take an imaginary journey to the farmers market (table) which was set up with fruit. Once they collected their fruits from shopping they were guided to the “picnic” style table. They were to take one of everything. Even if reluctant.
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The table included a half a banana in peel, greek honey yogurt and a cinnamon rice cake. So many kids did not want the yogurt or even the banana. They were allowed to take the food to the floor supervised or unsupervised depending on their age, and combine. The suggestion was to spread the yogurt on top of the rice cake, unpeel and slice the banana with a popcicle stick and place on top of the yogurt slathered rice cake. The beauty was they did it themselves! They loved it!

The rewarding part was when parents came up and told me she could not get her child to try yogurt until today! Pictures of the products were being taken and kids were coming up to me telling me how much fun they had. Cool, right?!? Mission accomplished. Recreate this at home and have some fun.

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We All Can Empower and Teach Life Skills

With kids its not just about ingredients and recipes.

It is incredibly rewarding to be running the Junior Chef Summer Camp. Not only are the children learning and having a great time but I am learning a few things as well.

I have come to the realization that since home economics classes, as we know it, have disappeared there is a huge need for the community to step up and start empowering children to get in the kitchen and learn about FOOD. Real food; not drive-thru, meals in a bag.

Many parents are overwhelmed with work and lack time to prepare nutritious meals. It would be something if children had the opportunity to explore healthy flavors and learn about nutrition after school. I’m sure life skills programs like this exist somewhere but there aren’t any in my community or school system.

Some of the children I am with this week have never tried many healthy fruits or vegetables. It is rewarding to know I am able to share and enjoy new flavors with the class. The children are excited to try avocado and feta cheese and equally excited to learn how to properly and safely use a knife.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to empower these children to learn life skills and step out of their shells to try new foods.

Maybe I will have to look into teaching life skills. You don’t have to be a Doctor or Nutritionist to help children experience new flavors and get excited about something like avocados instead of a meal with a toy!

There are three more classes this week. Each day is filled with joy, discovery, laughter, nutritious foods and skills to last a lifetime.

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Checklist to Set Up Your Dorm Room Kitchen

Aside from the lamps, rugs and bedding the most important college checklist is The Dorm Room Kitchen! After being the parent of a college student who is now in her Sophomore year, we learned a few things: The dining hall can get old, eating out is expensive and with the right items, dorm room cooking can be a breeze! The first semester we definitely were not equipped in the kitchen department. Yes, I sent dishes, cups, storage containers, a refrigerator and a microwave but, come to find, the items I’m telling you about can make or break a pleasant college eating experience. NO MORE FRESHMAN 15!

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Dream to Eat

I wonder how many people, who are not in the school system, know about #nsbw18, National School Breakfast Week 2018, March 5-9, 2018; my guess would be not many.

Have you ever been hungry? Not just for a snack or a steak dinner but, truly hungry from only eating maybe one small meal a day.

With the No Kid Hungry campaign I began to think back to my days as a food service worker in the local high school. It didn’t occur to me then, hind sight is 20/20, how many kids were truly hungry. There were 3 serving windows; one for delivery pizza, one for subs, big salads and the “good stuff” then one for standard school lunches. I always worked the pizza window; kids paid $2.00 a slice and could purchase cookies, chips and a drink a la carte. One day I worked the “standard” school lunch line. What an awakening!

This was the only line children on the free and reduced lunch program could go to. The food was typical school lunch – it sucked. Not like the pizza or sub (luxury) lines. But, it was probably the only real food they would eat in a day. Looking back, I am disturbed. I know hunger has been an issue in this country for a long while, however, it wasn’t until I matured and started this blog that I have become sad. Sad because of the gluttony we see on instagram and on line to take us a way from the harsh reality that there are children who won’t be eating a meal let alone a delicious overflowing milkshake topped with donuts. That would be a dream.

A dream to eat. A dream to be able to have a meal, let alone any delicious concoction on social media. I cannot imagine how that must be. I cannot imagine being a kid and not having a hot delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nevermind dessert. How truly privileged I am. How disappointed I am in myself for the food I waste.

This awakening has caused me to start doing research on this “hunger” issue. Unfortunately, I do not have the financial resources to start a chapter in my area. But, I do have the ability to donate and get involved through different avenues. We all should give back; there is some way, somehow we can help make a difference. This I have also learned from my 18 year old daughter who volunteers regularly at “soup kitchens”. My intentions are to get more involved to help feed the dreamers someway, somehow.

This is my mission.