VIDEO: Does Cooking With Kids Combat Pickiness?

by Meredith Grace
In Z Living's show Family Style with Chef Jeff, chef Jeff Henderson always invites young helpers to assist in preparing with each meal. They range in ages and backgrounds, but all share a common eagerness to help prepare a meal and learn the delicious recipes that "Chef Jeff" whips up.

The chef introduced us to a similar program called the Edible School Yard, which is located in New Orleans, LA. Check out the clip here for a glimpse at how they’re introducing local kids to cultivating and cooking with fresh ingredients from seed to spoon. (Click here to find out where you can tune in to Family Style and when to watch.)

More on Z Living: 7 Reasons To Get Hungry For Our New Show 'Family Style'

Did You Grow Up With "Rules" For Dinner Time?

Growing up in a traditional, strict Catholic family, there were certain rules pertaining to the dinner table. “No elbows on the table,” “chew with your mouth closed,” and, above all, “finish the vegetables on your plate.”

I have a few distinct memories of sitting at the table in blatant defiance, staring at a pile of zucchini well after the table had been cleared and my siblings had cleaned their plates. And if you offended the cook, my lovely and patient mother, by muttering anything along the lines of “yuck” or “ew,” you might have the unfortunate privilege of going to bed with an empty belly. These lessons raised me to be a relatively tolerant eater, as well as becoming more sensitive to fellow diners who were less willing to clean their plates.

Also on Z Living: A Guilt-Free Pecan Pie Recipe From Chef Jeff

Does Involving Children In Cooking Combat Pickiness?

A part of what makes Family Style with Chef Jeff so enjoyable to watch are the young helpers that assist with each meal. These recipes almost always include generous amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits and other fresh, healthy ingredients that might not always be found appealing by children of a similar age.
Yet these young helpers have their mind opened by seeing it transformed from its raw form into a finished, tasty product. It brings to mind the question: Does involving your kids in the cooking process combat pickiness?

Also on Z Living: RECIPE: Chef Jeff's Sweet Potato & Acorn Squash Soup

What Are The Facts?

The bounty of evidence that healthy eating habits developed in childhood extend into adulthood are frequently referenced by nutritionists and health professionals. In one peer reviewed study published by the Center for Disease Control, researchers found that the eating habits and preferences of school-age children who were enrolled in cooking classes were positively impacted after the programs concluded.
The Edible School Yard, located in New Orleans, LA (shown in the clip above) is a similar program.

How To Get Your Kids Cooking:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) lays out some guidelines to help you bring children as young as 2 into the meal prep process. Kids can help with adding ingredients, putting away groceries, and assemble ingredients in fun ways. The older your child is, the more they can get involved in the cooking process.
Chef Jeff provides an excellent example of the gentle guidance to instill confidence in young cooks of any age. The more timid helpers manage tasks like washing produce and stirring a pot, while the more eager chefs-in-training can assist with basting the barbecue or peeling vegetables and potatoes.
However you choose to involve your little ones in the meal prepping process, you’ll be sure to present them with a positive role model of what healthy eating habits look like. For more inspiration of how to get the whole family involved in making healthy meals, tune in to Family Style with Chef Jeff.

Watch on Z Living: Family Style with Chef Jeff  proves that good choices in the kitchen can lead to life changing experiences for the whole family. Click here to watch


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