How to market healthy food to your kids…it’s easier than you might think!

I stumbled upon the idea of marketing food to your kids a few years ago, but didn’t realize that this was the subject of active academic research until quite a bit later.

Imagine my surprise when some of the tried and true French approaches to kids’ food education were the subject of sophisticated studies by leading American academics! They’ve proven what my French mother-in-law already knew: that positive marketing messages can convince kids to like healthy foods.

One of my favourite researchers on this topic is Brian Wansink, who is a Professor of Consumer Behaviour (how fun is that?) at Cornell University. Here’s a fun article published last month on the Huffington Post on Wansink’s insights into kids’ food.

Marketing food to your kids is the topic of an entire chapter of my new book Getting to Yum. I found it worked like a charm with my kids! Here’s a feature article published this week on some of the key tips and strategies for parents. Spoiler alert: for younger kids, positive marketing requires parents to be a bit silly! But that’s part of the fun…

‘Enjoying Vegetables’ Graphic: Fun!

Jess Dang photoJess 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. CookSmarts Kids_Activities_Horizontal_Draft3We 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.

Fun "food art" for kids: One amazing Malaysian mom’s story

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: 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!).

My attempts tend to be more mundane, but successful nonetheless. Simple happy faces are much appreciated in our household! Bon Appétit! 😉Happy Face Salad

Tender chicken with ‘sauce chasseur’

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”


Serves 4

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!

New: Baby and Toddler Taste Training Plans!

Baby Taste Training Plan Sign UpSo excited to be letting you know about these new Taste Training Plans!

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!

Toddler Taste Training Plan Sign Up Button Final

Learn More: Find out more about Taste Training here, and the amazing Science of Taste Training here. And check out the happy family testimonials.

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!