Three ways to empower your child to eat more vegetables
One of the most common challenges parents face with cooking is how to get their child to eat more vegetables. So we reached out to Felicity Curin, Founder of Little Kitchen Academy, one of AeroGarden’s partners in bringing the joy of gardening to children everywhere. The Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen has locations across Canada and the US and uses the AeroGarden Farm 24Plus in all their locations for their Living Food Wall, which provides students with fresh produce and herbs that can be used in their food preparation as they cook meals from scratch to consumption.
Felicity shared her top 3 tips with us on how to empower and inspire your child to try new vegetables. As we head into the holidays, and recover from buckets of Halloween candy, this is going to be so helpful in empowering our kids to eat more nutritious foods:
- Encourage your child to help in the kitchen: Finding tasks your child can help with is a wonderful way to encourage them to try new foods. Have them help you by collecting ingredients from the fridge, outdoor garden or AeroGarden, or cupboard. Empower them to wash and/or chop the vegetables or fruit. We see it all the time, when our students are chopping up fruits or vegetables, only a portion of the food ends up in the recipe… the rest goes to our students tasting it while they cook! We’ve seen children as young as three take a big bite out of some fresh broccoli or a mushroom. When we engage our children in the process of cooking, they naturally become more curious and excited about trying new foods.
- Grow food at home together: At Little Kitchen Academy, we encourage our students to plant, nurture, harvest and prepare produce because we know that when we are an active participant in our food choices, we will try them – and more often than not, ENJOY them! There’s nothing quite like picking a fresh tomato and eating it right away. Our Living Food Wall powered by AeroGarden has plants at different stages of growth so we can observe, care for, and enjoy the literal ‘fruits of our labour’! Try this for yourself at home by planting some herbs or vegetables with your child, either outside in a traditional outdoor garden or indoors in your AeroGarden!
- Spend time exploring the language of food: Help your child explore new descriptive words to explain what it is they don’t like about a certain food. Perhaps your child has always said that they don’t like tomatoes but through talking about what they don’t like (texture, taste, etc.) you may discover that they, in fact, DO like tomatoes when they’ve been picked, washed, chopped, and slightly seasoned? Or maybe caramelized in the oven with garlic and salt and pepper? At Little Kitchen Academy, we like to say our students don’t like a food, YET! It’s all about understanding why they don’t like that food and then spending some time exploring different flavors, textures, and cooking methods.
AeroGarden is all about helping people #growmoreeveryday, and exploring new foods with children is a great example of that. Involving your child in every step of the preparation process is an effective way to encourage risk-taking, and build their confidence in trying new things. We see our students bravely take risks in every class when they consider trying something new. They don’t have to like it, they don’t even have to try it… but we celebrate the consideration!
So as you venture into those holiday breaks from school, consider bringing your child into the kitchen to encourage exploration, growth, and adventure with new food! Helping with their favorite dish, making memories, and expanding their palette makes for a great gift all year long.
Little Kitchen Academy is the key ingredient for an independent child. The first-of-its-kind, Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen is focused on providing a safe, inspiring, and empowering space for children to identify, develop, and refine their senses. Learn more about the inspiration behind Little Kitchen Academy, find an LKA location near you, or learn more about opening a LKA in your area, at their website: littlekitchenacademy.com