I started teaching cooking classes about a year and a half ago. I originally started it as a way to meet my neighbors and share some cooking inspiration, but it has become a mainstay of each month. I focus mainly on the moms in the neighborhood, but every once in a while, I’ll hold a class just for the kiddos. Today was a kid day.
Kids have such a natural ability to learn and when there is food involved, you can’t go wrong. Most kids I know have at least a small interest in cooking. The more they learn about how to cook, the more interest they have in it.
I structure my kids classes much differently than my adult classes. For the adult classes, I actually do most of the cooking with a little assistance when I have to gain a couple of hands. With the kids, however, I let them take the reigns. I do the hard prep ahead of time and leave every bit of kid sized prep to them. It’s empowering and educational. It teaches them that food doesn’t just show up on the table, someone has to make it. Hopefully, it provides a bit more humility, even if they don’t know what that feeling is yet.
Today’s cooking class yielded some kid favorites. Fruit kabobs, hungry caterpillar bites (celery with peanut butter or cream cheese and fresh fruits and veggies for toppings), quesadillas, and emoji cut out sugar cookies. It was a huge hit.
So, how does this nutritionist add nutrition education to this class? I don’t. I let them eat their nutrition. It’s all about exposure. The kids today were amazing. They embraced the foods they loved. Even if they didn’t like something, it was okay. There was no force to taste, there was no shame if a child said they didn’t like something. Kids need to know that likes and dislikes are completely normal and it’s okay. There were plenty of options to go around.