creating healthy habits: kale pasta & the battle of the cooking teacher vs. the strong willed picky eater
CREATING HEALTHY HABITS: KALE PASTA
& THE BATTLE OF THE COOKING TEACHER VS. THE STRONG WILLED PICKY EATER
Let’s just start by saying that teaching 3 & 4 year olds how to cook may just be my front. Yes, they learn the basics to creating a meal but cooking class really serves as a way to teach these kiddos so many other things!
It teaches them about social skills like listening, self restraint, and patience. They learn about measuring, comparing and problem solving. We talk a lot about healthy eating and how important proper nutrition is to their growing bodies. Along with all of that, probably the most important thing they learn is that: HAVING FOOD THAT “THEY DON’T LIKE” ON THEIR PLATE WON’T HURT THEM!!
My deal at cooking class is that the preschoolers are the chefs. They are learning to prepare a dish. This means, it’s not about what they like. It’s about learning to prepare a dish that maybe they will like and if not maybe someone else may like. I always try to reinforce the idea that they don’t have to eat anything they don’t care to but I do require them to all make the dish and use specific ingredients. And here is what i can tell you about that: GETTING THE KALE ON THEIR PLATE IS NOT ALWAYS THAT EASY!
I’ve spent the last decade convincing strong willed picky eaters that having something they don’t like on their plate is not the end of the world. I’ve had kids cry, try to cover up their plates and throw giants fits. But at this point I’ve gotten good - it may take some maneuvering but I always manage to get just a little bit of everything on each kids plate. Yes, they sometimes just take it right off the plate. Sometimes they refuse to touch the plate for the rest of class. All of that is totally fine with me. I’m fine with all of that because once they have that dreaded ingredient on their plate, they learn that having it there does not need to be the end of the world. They are being exposed to a food that something in their brain is telling them to be scared of. Most of the time it’s not about them actually not liking something. Most of the time they have never even tried it!! They are just scared of the idea they might not like it.
Once it’s on their plate it’s up to them. They’ve seen it. They’ve been exposed! And maybe they even will try it! And you know what is the most cool part of it all?!! Once they try it, they almost always like it!! I can’t even tell you over the years how many of the same kids I’m sneaking to put a veggie on their plate ends up loving it and eating everything.
My point of sharing this is to give a little hope to you parents of strong willed picky eaters. KEEP TRYING!! KEEP EXPOSING!! KEEP MODELING HEALTHY EATING TO YOUR CHILDREN! Sometimes it just takes time. Maybe they will never love kale but they never know until they try it!
Today’s Kale Pasta recipe made me work a little but I was so happy to see so many kids loving this superfood pasta dish.
Here’s how you can try it at home!
2 cups kale, washed, tear leaves of stems
1/2 c diced sweet peppers
1/2 c feta cheese
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
8 oz whole grain pasta of your choice
WHAT TO DO: