Kids' Food: Beyond Chicken Nuggets

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

It can be hard for parents to get their finicky kids to eat healthy foods. Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and New York Times "Well" blogger Tara Parker-Pope share tips on how to end food battles and expand menu options for even the pickiest eaters!

Weigh in: How did you get your kids to eat foods beyond pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets? Share your tips and recipes.

Tara Parker-Pope and Alice Waters will be participating in a panel discussion
"Beyond Chicken Nuggets: How to Raise a Healthy Eater"
Sun. Oct. 12th from 12:00-1:30 PM
HIRO Ballroom, 88 9th Avenue (Between 16th and 17th Sts.)
For tickets and more info, go here


Tara Parker-Pope and Alice Waters

Comments [13]

Marc Naimark from Paris

Speaking of Victory gardens reminded me of a PBS series... I'm pleased to see it's still on the air:

Oct. 09 2008 07:09 AM
Paul from Congers, NY

I sometimes allow my son to eat junk food ONLY after he has eaten some salad and drank some real water.
Thanks to your show, I will be doing that more often.

Oct. 08 2008 02:22 PM
anne from ny,ny

We have healthy, natural food in the house but do have some processed food for convenience.

My problem is from interacting with the majority of the world my son knows there is a lot of junk out there and gorges himself on it when he is at a party. I have even caught him hiding candy that he got from his friend because he knows we dont have it in the house.

Any advice?

Oct. 07 2008 01:38 PM
drora kemp from North NJ

Children will love foods they grow up with. If kids see their parents enjoy a red pepper or a juicy peach they will take it for granted that those are delicious foods. I speak from experience. I have a son who grew up "stealing" ingredients for salad as I was preparing it and who hated hot dogs! (I don't get it!)
He is now 33 years old and loves eating and preparing new foodss and trading recipes with me. We share a love for quinoa and whole millet and still steals salad ingredients when he visits.
He lives in Seattle and I actually saw him and his fiancee spend $8 for an eggplant in an organic, fair trade, local produce store. I thought they were a bit crazy but hey - it beats chicken nuggets. I used the eggplant to prepare my famous babaganoush, which they adore.

Oct. 07 2008 01:19 PM
Melissa from Brooklyn, NY

I frequently give school tours at a farmer's market I work at in Manhattan and it seems teachers are clueless as to what to actual TELL children about food. They are showing films like "Supersize Me". To me, this film isn't an educational tool about nutrition, eating local or eating fresh food. It's a diatribe about the horrors of one particular fast food chain.

How do you get inner city kids who are about to start making real decisions for themselves about what they eat (juniors/seniors in high school) to watch an informative film about food production (like King Corn) without feeling like they are watching some hippie food propaganda film? Sometimes the opinions in these expose documentaries are so extreme from what the children know, they just reject it.

Is there a middle ground for teaching kids about eating healthy and fresh? Perhaps mandatory home economics? Let's teach kids to cook in school. It's just as valuable a skill as math, reading and science.

Oct. 07 2008 01:03 PM

Good suggestions here and on the program.

My lessons from learning to eat well after a period of pre-pubescence when I would eat nothing but meat and bread:

1. start with a SMALL portion of the hated food. Have it ready when the child is hungry. It ALWAYS tastes better then.

2. drench it in butter or other tasty seasoning (how I learned to eat peas and potatoes). (Not so healthy, but a way to start).

3. Fresh is certainly key. My Irish mother used to serve up canned veggies. Imagine my surprise when I tasted a fresh string bean. And it was good!

Oct. 07 2008 01:02 PM
Rosalie from Long Island

Let's get the governement to subsidize healthy food so more poor people can afford it and add a "fat" tax to the unhealthy food on the market. Let the "fat" tax pay for the subsidy as well as the added financial burden to our medical system due to obesity and eating bad food.

Oct. 07 2008 12:57 PM
Debbie from New York

My 18 month old is pretty good when it comes to food. My problem is always variety and one day he'll gobble something up and the next he won't touch it. Working full time, it's hard to factor in his taste THAT day when I pack his bag for day care. We try to just continually give him our leftovers, the one thing he doesn't seem to want anything to do with is steak. But he LOVES braised short ribs and was on a curry kick for a while! Like a PP said, it's about introducing a variety to them when they are young. Although I will say that sometimes it backfires if we're at a friend's house and they only offer "kid" foods. He almost always gets an upset stomach from chicken nuggets.

Oct. 07 2008 12:54 PM

These people talk about the garden like it's a simple, pastoral thing - but really they sound like clueless elites. Having a garden is a HUGE luxury for so many.

Who has time for a garden? That kind of time would be a luxury to me.

Where are we going to put it? Access to a rooftop is not a given.

Oct. 07 2008 12:52 PM
Alison from Manhattan

I just COOK! A novel action here in Manhattan! I cook fresh, good foods - nothing frozen, nothing prepared - no take out - 6 out of 7 evenings. And offer my kids to help me which they both love (11 and 7). We also have a "normal" dinner time EVERY night - we all eat together - and my kids a beautiful eaters. I can't believe how many of my friends, etc don't have regular meals together (and don't cook!)

Oct. 07 2008 12:44 PM
Jill Hamilton-Brice from Paris, France

I'm an American living in France, and happily have a daughter who is a bit of a "gourmand". She eats a better range of food than I do! From salmon and st. jacques scallops to broccoli and haricot verts. Meals are important and pretty routinized. I try to use a variety of color (oranges, greens, yellows, browns). I encourage fruits for dessert, although she occasionally gets real treats too We do a minimal of snacking. I often start meals with the vegetable when she's hungry. I also started using silverware with her early on- just put a child's spoon and fork near her plate all of the time, regardless if she uses it (which by now she mostly does, very empowering). I use very few processed foods.

Oct. 07 2008 12:09 PM
Jill from Canada

My 2-1/2 year old is a fairly adventurous eater (his favourite food is pickled herring), willing to try new things and to re-try things he didn't like the first time. I think inborn personality is a factor, but I suspect these choices also help:

*since his first solids, we avoided feeding him processed food, so he's not hooked on added salt and sweeteners;
*he gets what the adults are eating, no separate junk food "kid meals";
*if he doesn't want to eat something, he just says 'no' and we don't push it; we don't want to make eating a battleground; if he's hungry, he'll eat.

He's very young, so bigger food battles may lie ahead, but we think we're off to a great start.

Oct. 07 2008 10:53 AM
Sheree from Manhattan

About ten years ago my daughter was reading "Fanny at Chez Panisse" in class with her fabulous 4th grade teacher at a public school here in Manhattan. The class exchanged letters and a video with the restaurant. Soon afterward, our family returned for a visit to the Bay Area, where we used to live,and we took our daughters to Chez Panisse for lunch. What a memorable meal! Both of my daughters, then about 10 and 4 years old, were allowed to help make individual pizzas---best pizzas ever! Illustrating the most important rule in raising good eaters: get them involved in meal planning, cooking and being aware of where their food comes from. The older daughter has spent part of two summers working at organic farms (including Green Gulch in Marin County, CA) and we belong to a CSA. Thank you, Alice, for all you've done to raise awareness about what eating well really means.

Oct. 07 2008 10:47 AM

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