Friday, April 28, 2006

Cooking With Veggie Kids

This has been a long week and, for me, its not over yet. I've still got to teach 3 classes in a row today (45 minute strength training, 45 minute cardio, 45 minute cardio with 15 minute strength training.) I'm also teaching two back to back intro to Pilates and Yoga classes to a group of Girl Scouts on Saturday. If you're curious, the early part of the week didn't look much better.

I don't usually teach that many classes but every once in a while I wind up with a week like this. On these weeks, I rely on my daughters to pitch in with meal prep and sometimes some cooking as well. Last night was a prime example. By the time I was done helping the boys with homework, I had to run right out the door to teach a class. Either the girls made dinner or we wouldn't be eating before 7:30pm. (For those of you who wonder where Jim is in this cooking equation, lets just say cooking is not his forte. The last time Jim cooked a meal by himself was in 1992. The end result involved melted plastic in the oven. He's great at an amazing number of things, just not cooking.)

When the girls cook solo, we opt for a tried and true recipe. Last night they made Mac UnCheese with broccoli and carrots. I like the way they divided the task up. One put up the water to boil and set up the uncheese sauce for the pasta while the other washed and chopped the vegetables. I don't think they realize they've discovered the secret to getting a meal on the table with all components being done at about the same time. For them its more about hanging out and joking to make the job go more quickly.

I think its incredibly important to teach our kids to cook. Cooking is such a vital part of not only a frugal life but a healthy life as well. In this time of prepackaged, non-nutritive, high sodium junk food; cooking from scratch can be your key to good health. Here's a little tip, the food industry is big business and is interested in making money. Your good or bad health as a result of their products is not their concern. If you're not sure about that, check out Supersize Me or Fast Food Nation.

For my sons, who are only 5 & 6, cooking means stirring a bit, kneading a bit, or even just taste testing a recipe. This is how my daughters started out and you can see how much far they've come. There's nothing cooler than a child serving out something and being able to say, "I made that."

This afternoon, the boys and I will be experimenting with some cereal recipes that we discovered in The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. The best part of vegan cooking with kids is, I never have to worry about them licking a spoon. There's no salmonella lurking in my kitchen!


lizhillruder said...

Hi Katie,

I lurk but rarely comment- but I can't help myslef on this one!

I whole-heartly agree with you about the importantance of teaching kids how to cook. As a dietitian myself, I feel that so much of our nation's weight problem stems from the fear and lack of knowledge adults have about preparing food.


Katie said...

Hi Liz,
I've also found that because people don't cook as much they get stuck in a nutritional rut. They eat the same things over and over again. They assume that their kids would never eat...(fill in the healthy food of your choice here)...because it is unfamiliar.

Its been my experience, working with preschoolers for over 10 years, that kids will try unfamiliar foods if given the opportunity and a positive environment.

Whew, you should never let a dietitian and a diet tech get in a conversation like this:-)

Thanks for the comment.

Barbara said...


Thanks so much for the info on dishwashing liquid. That is exactly what I was looking for!


Katie said...

I'm glad Barbara, let me know how it works.