Do I Have to Eat That?

She says:

One of the best things I remember as a kid during Spring Break was the availability of food. Without the regimen of a school schedule, you had the chance to grab snacks and make way-cool stuff for lunch that was not possible on a school day. This of course was especially true if the weather was less than cooperative I am sure my Mom cringed when March produced rainy indoor days and the fridge seemed to spend more time open than closed!

One thing about eating as a kid – you do not have total control over what it is that you eat. Although having free rein at home gives you more opportunity to sneak extra cookies and double-dip into the peanut butter jar, it does not mean you get a pass on eating vegetables or other healthy (read yucky) food. Or at least it certainly worked that way when I was a kid.

Nowadays, healthy food can be harder to find. I am of the generation whose Moms still made more cookies than they bought. Frozen fish sticks and meat pies were common, but for the most part pre-prepared food meant it was frozen in a Tupperware container and thawed for that night. I do not mean to lead you down the garden path, however, as back then we didn’t like some veggies or whole grains any better than many kids today. I think it is part of maintaining your membership to an international fraternity – the day you start liking weird foods like green peppers and beets and whole wheat bread means you are growing up. After all, Peter Pan and his followers never imagined eating stuff like that!

As a grown-up trying hard to maintain some kind of honorary membership, I am writing this week to plead for special allowance. If we adults can make that boring serious adult food seem more fun and kid-friendly, maybe you kids out there could promise to give it a try? (Who am I kidding? The only other people reading are other boring serious grown-ups! Well, maybe they will make an effort and the kids will be so surprised they will try the food before they realize it is healthy or serious.)

Hopefully there is time during Spring Break to share a meal with family and friends, and maybe it might be fun to try something new and healthy. There are lots of times when we fall into the routine of being too busy to eat well, so let’s promise this spring to be a bit more green in our diets as well as in our environment. Kids will be more interested to try new foods if they are presented in new ways, and just like many other pursuits they may not master them the first time around. We teach our children not to give up in work and sports, so shouldn’t we teach them the same thing with food? Don’t just eat lazily, but rather make it an adventure that keeps you learning!

He says:

I have been working with kids in after school programs and one of the things I try to do is show them new foods. Here are some ideas that have been fun to try:

1. Pick a new fruit and get the kids to taste it – star fruit, kiwi, mango, papaya, passion-fruit… let them pick something when you go shopping!

2. Have them try a hot pepper (jalapeno will do to start) – try it yourself first so you can time the heat and then you can tell them that it will dissipate after 20 or 30 seconds (I did this with my daughter and she got to try many spicy foods this way)

3. Show them how to cook simple ingredients like pasta or rice – older kids can even have this as a job to help with at dinner.

4. If you have a group, get them to work as an assembly line with dishes like wraps or rolls – great for spring rolls where you can see the insides once you roll it!

5. Try a blind food tasting to see if they can describe how food tastes – what does it remind them of? (Kristin’s brother said when he was a kid, he thought papayas tasted like the zoo!)

You can even show them fun ways to set the table, like different ways to fold napkins!

Get your kids involved in the kitchen and they will learn to respect the food and the cook. Years later when they come home from university for Spring Break, maybe they will cook for you.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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