I created a garden and cooking program for kids in 2011 and one of the most frequent questions I still receive is “how do you cook with kids in the garden?” I know that cooking with kids works to enhance fruit and vegetable consumption as I have taught over 100 cooking classes for kids and witnessed this first-hand. But to add another level to that, by getting them into the garden to really experience how that food is grown and how they can help nuture it through the season allows for an amazing learning opportunity. By making the garden into an outdoor classroom where cooking can take center stage after the garden work is done was simply a true seed-to-table experience. This by far was the most successful way to get the kids to eat their vegetables – not because we told them to – but because they were able to experience the vegetable from the garden to the table.
Recipes in the garden need to be simple and fresh. Simple, meaning just a few ingredients that are easily prepared by children and fresh, meaning emphasizing the garden bounty as the main focus in the recipe. Giving the child individual cooking equipment as a place setting was an enticing experience for the kids. They wanted to cut their own strawberries, tear their own chard and mash their own squash. True engagement and learning about food comes when kids are able to use their senses to explore it, even during cooking. What a great opportunity to enhance fruit and vegetable consumption!
Click here for a free guide from The Down-To-Earth Dietitian that includes 7 steps to choosing a recipe to use in a kids garden program and a free recipe for strawberry nachos that all kids will love!
Coming soon! An amazing resource guide to getting a garden started in your community!
Would love to hear your favorite recipes for kid-friendly garden produce!