Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kids and new foods (plus a breakfast quinoa recipe)

This morning, I got elementary school girls to try quinoa. And it wasn't even that difficult.

Most of you probably know that I coach a Girls on the Run Team. A couple weeks ago, we were talking about nutrition and discussing what they eat for breakfast.

Kids eat a lot of Pop Tarts these days as it turns out. So, in an effort to expand their palates (and teach them that there are more options than Pop Tarts) I volunteered to cook and bring them quinoa... as long as they ate it.

They promised they would, so last night, I cooked up some breakfast quinoa in my kitchen. First, this happened:

Yep... Victim of putting too much liquid in the pot at once. Whoops.

But then... this happened, and I was able to bring a big bowl of breakfast quinoa for my girls to try. We talked about what quinoa was, and I explained to them how I prepared it (one of my girls even asked me for the ingredients!), and then, I invited them to dig in....

 On top of bringing the quinoa, I also brought a variety of healthy toppings -- chopped apple, pecans, crunchy natural peanut butter, Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon -- and invited them to top the base however they wanted. I think that's the key with kids. When you're teaching them about new foods, it's so important to let them play a part in deciding what they try. That way, they take ownership of what they're eating.. and they learn that healthy can be delicious!

Every single one of my girls tried the quinoa. One thought it was disgusting, but the rest were pretty excited about it, with a couple even going back for seconds.

I'm not saying we should never give kids Gushers or Pop Tarts. What I am saying is that I think we should teach kids about healthy foods and give them the opportunity to experiment and try them. Are they going to love everything they try? Absolutely not. I personally hate olives. By encouraging them to try, they're going to find healthy foods that they DO like, and I think that's the approach we need to take. Praise them when they try something new, and let them throw it away if they don't like it. Let them know that they have a choice. The worst thing that's going to happen is that they don't like something -- so what? Who cares? The best thing that can happen is that they find a new favorite food, and either way, you're encouraging them to experiment and rewarding them for having opinions and preferences. It's always going to be a win-win.

Here's my kid-approved breakfast quinoa. Just make sure you have a big enough pot!

Kid-approved Breakfast Quinoa (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free) (makes 10 servings):
2 cups quinoa
2 cups unsweetened vanilla soy milk
2 cups water
4 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
  1. Combine quinoa, soy milk, water, and vanilla in a large pot. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is light and fluffy.
  2. Once cooked, take off of heat and add cinnamon and honey.
  3. Top with chopped apples, pecans, peanut butter, more cinnamon, honey, or whatever healthy toppings you want! Encourage kids to go crazy!

No comments:

Post a Comment