Kids hate green foods, it’s a well known fact…. that was mostly disproved in all my classes so far this week. We’ve been making one of my favourite recipes, courgette cakes. It never fails to win over the kids and the parents always tentatively try before exclaiming in a shocked voice ‘ They’re actually really nice!’ The courgette mixes into the batter and the result is a beautifully moist cake that tastes delicious.
A lot of the people that come to class do so because they have real issues with their children eating a varied range of foods. Some will eat just fruit and no veg, some just veg and no fruit and some just pasta, plain and simple and that is that! Cooking and tasting with friends can make a huge difference to a child’s willingness to try. Often the kids come in and you see them watching the children willingly munching away with slight confusion. Why on Earth are they doing that? Then as the weeks go on they realise they are the odd one out and everyone else is tasting but them and slowly a little hand sneaks towards the table and takes a little nibble! Some kids will eat food in class that they’d never try at home. In fact once a Mum secretly used to me her weeks groceries so that I could hand them to her – if they came from my house her son would eat them! Psychology plays a huge part in faddy eating. To me the classes are the ideal opportunity to address this issue, we’re using food, exploring food and so why not taste them? This week I extended the limits somewhat and must admit I worried I was being a tad too adventurous. The cakes went into the oven and the little cooks set about clearing the table and bringing over all their washing up, always good to get them trained from an early age, then they sat in their seats and eagerly awaited this weeks activity which normally involves a tasting session.
This week was no exception, only we were tasting foods even the adults recoiled at! On my plate I had a spinach plant, a raw courgette and lots of raw sprouts. The kids didn’t look fazed at all, always a good start but I was expecting it to be a bit of a challenge so we started slowly. First we tried the courgette cutting it up and seeing how it looked – cucumber was the obvious response, sweetcumber slightly less obvious! But did it taste like a cucumber? They all started munching away and soon enough the courgette has disappeared. Next the sprouts, what do these look like? Little cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces all were shouted out responses. We spent a bit of time peeling away the leaves, making little patterns in them with our teeth and licking them to make them stick on our noses – one Mum misunderstood the instructions and merrily licked her daughters nose instead of the leaf – if stuck none the less! It seems once a child has put a piece of food to their lips they’re far more likely to then eat them.. and they did, without being prompted their curiosity got the better of them and they were soon munching on their sprouts. Next came the spinach leaf straight from the plant.
They all had a little bowl of water to wash their leaf and make it into a little boat and then again they started munching and most finished it up! One lovely little boy who comes to class doesn’t eat vegetables at all – he left having eaten all three!