Picky eaters and Dinosaur Kale

“Many kids can tell you about drugs but do not know what celery or courgettes taste like” – Jamie Oliver

Food. Food is so important in our daily lives, even more so for kids. The type of food they eat will affect their life-long eating habits, and thus their health. Despite having a great variety of food around us, we still have picky eaters. So, how do you convince picky eaters to try something new?

The Wacky Snacks class presents food to the 16 kids in a very unique way. First, the kids learn the name. They fall in love with names like “Dinosaur Kale.” Then they touch the food, smell it, make comments about it, and they learn where it comes from. In addition, they learn other “funny” facts about the food (who would think that a banana could float?).

And then, they start preparing the food. In order to prepare a “Massage Kale Salad,” they cut the kale and then “massage” it with lime, olive oil and other condiments with their own hands. The same happened when they prepared Jicama with lime and spicy chili powder. This way, everybody tastes everything; it doesn’t matter if they have never heard about the food, or how funny looking or green it might look. Finally, in order to eliminate the peer pressure they might have with acknowledging that they liked a food they said they would never try, at the end of each class, everybody put their heads down and closes their eyes. Then the instructor asks them if they liked the food they just prepared and tasted. 80 to 90 percent of the kids raise their hands. They like it! So, what is different this time?

The kids try these different foods, because they learn from them. The ingredients pass through their senses, and they form a connection that makes them believe it is going to taste good. They even ask where can you buy the food. I am sure as they grow and see these foods at the supermarket they will buy them and prepare them.