Raising Healthy Eaters Self-Help Advice

Written by Jennifer Strailey

Successfully whetting your kids' appetite for good food isn't as hard as you think. Three chefs share their advice.

A chef once told me that her young daughter would complain when she ordered a pizza delivered for dinner. Her daughter felt cheated, she said. Talking while making dinner together was a near-nightly mother-daughter routine, and anything less was just take-out.

Advice on Cooking with Kids
Liz Strahle, who leads weeklong cooking camps for kids 7 to 12 in Carlsbad, Calif., says the earlier kids learn to cook, the better. Here are her tips:
Young children (age 2 and up) can contribute by tearing lettuce, measuring and stirring.
Always use plastic knives with young kids.
Turn a box upside down, draw burners on it and use it to discuss and practice oven safety.
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You don't have to be a chef to raise kids who take an interest in good food. But it definitely helps. To find out how to entice young people to have more adventurous palates, we spoke with three hot chefs who know what it takes with tykes.

Who: Greg Higgins, chef/owner of Higgins Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Ore.

Kid credentials: Taught hundreds of elementary school kids how to make everything from bruschetta to the Indian dal.

Key to cooking with kids:"Stick to the basics. Make it simple and approachable. Focus on assembly rather than caramelizing syrup or kneading bread dough. Teach them about quality ingredients and how good they taste on their own, so they make the correlation between the ingredients and the dish."

How to get kids interested in food:"The most important thing is to make food tangible. Kids think cooking is a grown-up thing and they get turned off because they think it's not their domain."

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