"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 22nd 2017
Kids cook up a storm without a stove in sight
I have learned that the success or failure of getting your kids to eat healthily, relies very much on a couple of basic factors. There is an unwritten law at work here that states, the longer the dish has taken you to prepare, the more expensive the ingredients and the more invested you are in the child consuming it, the more likely you are to crash and burn. So getting kids into Raw food might be a bit of a challenge.
Nothing up my sleeves
Ninja greens You can take to subterfuge and puree everything green in sight, to sneak into sauces and smoothies if you desire, but let's be honest, in no way is that ever going to translate into a healthy relationship with vegetables in their unpulverised state. Whilst I managed a small victory stuffing hidden avocados into my son's chocolate mousse, it quickly turned sour by his look of utter betrayal towards me, when he found me out. He might have licked the bowl clean, but he was going to view every dish I set before him in the future with a Rasputin-like suspicion.
Keys to Success
No, the trick to getting kids to eat something healthy of their own volition is threefold. Firstly they have to have ownership. Nine times out of ten, if they have made something themselves they will eat it, no matter how unappealing it looks.
Secondly, the number of kids involved in this process the better. There is a kind of herd mentality with kids and cooking which focuses them on the task, especially if each group is making their own dish.
All in the mix
Kid power Everyone seems to latch on to the collective industry involved and approach it with great gusto. Lastly, the less parental involvement and use of the words 'healthy,' 'green', or 'organic', the better. It's a little like adults hearing 'tax return', 'check up', or 'laundry'.
No matter how positive the outcome, it's just a turn-off and you need to be pretty unobtrusive, which is why choosing food that does not need a stove to be prepared, is a great idea.
Getting things together
Mixing it up Getting a group of kids together for a raw food riot can be an immensely satisfying and social experience. Using only raw recipes means that all the 'no cook' options are safe for even the littlest chef and you can back right off if needed. The most difficult tasks are likely to be working a blender, surely the most fascinating job for the under 5's in the universe and some chopping skills for older kids.
Raw Fun The raw food get together we went to, must have had a least 15 kids in total, split into small groups, all working frantically on their recipes. Now don't get me wrong, a group that size is loud, but at the same time, it was fun and very productive. A lot of raw food recipes are really easy and involve some tactile work like rolling and shaping bliss balls, just great for little kids. The older children enjoyed measuring and mixing for the muesli slice, whilst preparing fruit and veggies for kebabs, was something everyone could do.
Things on sticks
There's no reason that the adults have to miss out though, a couple of the mums got together to make our own adults lunch of zucchini ribbons, tomatoes and a homemade pesto, which was as delicious as anything I have eaten at a restaurant. Getting everyone to eat together at the end of the session is especially nice. You could see the pride in everyone's faces as they passed around the food they had made, just don't get left with all the washing up.
If you are planning doing something like this, please be extremely careful to check for food allergies before time and make sure you flog the hand hygiene rules, so that any nut traces don't make it past the front door.