Jess Dang is the energetic and inspiring found of Cook Smarts – a great online menu planning site! When I saw her infographics, I knew we shared a food education mission! 😉 Thanks, Jess! When Karen tweeted me to ask if she could share Cook Smarts’ ‘Guide to Enjoying Vegetables’ infographic, I immediately said, “Yes!” I was even more excited when she asked if I would contribute a blog post about some of the other fun projects Cook Smarts is working on, especially since our latest project is all about how to raise healthy eaters. As a past cooking instructor, I had the opportunity to work with a lot of parents, and many of them struggled to find ways to include their children in the kitchen. The kitchen was already a stressful enough place. Adding kids to the equation would only multiply that stress. However at Cook Smarts, we really believe that getting kids comfortable with helping in the kitchen from an early age sets the foundation for healthy eating. Young kids are naturally curious and will always want to take part in what their parents are doing. The earlier they’re included, the more likely they’ll continue contributing and helping as they grow up. While their schedules will get busier with extra-curricular activities and increased homework-load, the skills they’ll build in the kitchen are just as valuable to their success in the future. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to include kids in the kitchen though. Luckily there are so many resources out there with great ideas. Karen’s upcoming book ‘Getting to Yum’ is full of fun games that parents can play with kids to expand their food horizons. We also came up with an infographic that suggests a wide range of activities for every age range. Yes, there are ways to include kids as young as 1! If you want even more ideas on how to raise healthy eaters, visit our ‘How do I Raise Healthy Eaters’ page. Jess Dang is the Chief Kitchen Cheerleader at Cook Smarts. Cook Smarts believes that health starts with a home cooked meal. Click here to explore their cooking info and tools that transform home cooks into kitchen heroes.
A great way to encourage reluctant eaters is to make food visually appealing. .
One of my favourite examples is Samantha Lee, a Malaysian mom who makes stunning “bento box” style dishes for her children, like the one pictured here. Check out a video of her amazing “food art”, here, or visit her wonderful blog: eatzybitzy.com. She’s an amazing artist — and has attracted worldwide attention with her work (check out her blog for food art interpretations of Lady Gaga, Brave, and the Eiffel Tower!).
I am very excited, and honored, to be doing this guest post for Karen. Her work is so worthwhile. I am a French mom living in LA, writing my FrenchFoodieBaby blog about my journey in educating my son’s taste buds and teaching him to be a healthy eater.
Here is one of Pablo’s favorite recipes when he was 12 months old. Adults can eat this dish too – it’s that tasty!
Tender Chicken with Sauce “Chasseur”
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 + 10 minutes
Serving to babies: 12 months and up in small quantities, pureed as appropriate. For babies who are already chewing, the mushrooms make a good finger food.
Note that you can use the sauce with any poultry dish; for toddlers, you could also serve it with a morsels of chicken, or a even a whole roasted chicken.
4 pieces of skinless chicken (either breast or thigh)
1 lb mushrooms, washed and sliced
6 tbsp of butter
4 shallots, peeled and minced
2 heaping tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine (or white grape juice, or juice from canned mushrooms, if you want to go alcohol-free)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp of tomato concentrate
1 bouquet garni (in a piece of hollow celery rib, put some thyme, parsley, sage, 1 or 2 bay leaves, cover with another piece of celery rib and tie with kitchen tie.)
Salt & pepper
5-6 sprigs of fresh chervil (if you can find it, I’ve had a hard time finding it in LA), stem removed, minced
5-6 sprigs of fresh tarragon, stem removed, minced
Cut the chicken in strips and set aside.
For the sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms. Add in the shallots, and cook for a few minutes.
Sprinkle flour, stir and let it get a bit of color.
Stir in the wine and broth. Add the tomato concentrate, bouquet garni, salt & pepper.
Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer over medium low for about 15 minutes.
At this point, you can keep warm, covered, on very low heat, while you cook the chicken.
In a frying pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the chicken strips until cooked. Salt & pepper to taste.
Before serving the sauce, remove the bouquet garni, and incorporate the minced chervil and tarragon.
Pour sauce over the meat and serve immediately!
In response to popular demand, I’ve created these short plans which help you teach your child to learn to love new foods. Based on my new book Getting to Yum, the plans provide you with easy, tasty recipes that will expand your baby’s palate (and maybe even your own!), Top Tips, Games, Coloring Sheets, plus a personalized Taste Training Graduation Certificate at the end!
Give Back: The proceeds will go to help food education programs in schools (we’re currently supporting the amazing Project Chef in Vancouver), and low-income families can access the plans for free upon referral from a paediatrician or hospital. Proud to be giving back to the #foodiekids community!
Many parents have gotten in touch asking about hands-on techniques, so I finally decided to take the plunge: I’ll run the workshop on January 31st from 11 am to 1 pm. Parents/caregivers and of course children are very welcome!
We’ll have 3 fun Taste Training games, 8 easy recipes (including a yummy dessert), and some lovely take home items. Quite a bargain for only $20.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
January 31st at Choices Markets (on 16th Avenue) in Vancouver.
Sign up here! (You’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of the page for the event listing)