Foodies unite for Food Day 2013

Meghan's son Aryton "cooking."

Meghan’s son Aryton “cooking.”

Today is Food Day 2013. Isn’t every day Food Day? Technically yes, but this year we are looking at October 24 a little differently. This year we will come together as a country to focus on “healthy, affordable and sustainable food”. I think it’s extremely important that we realize as a nation what we are putting into our bodies. I think most parents really do monitor what their children eat but I hope they are paying attention to what they are eating as well. It shouldn’t be a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Remember, it’s never too late to start eating healthy. It’s never too difficult to start eating healthy either. The Food Day movement is focusing on educating children through – gulp – cooking classes and family cooking.

Confession: I hate cooking with children. It annoys me. I know it’s terrible and that as a mother and former preschool teacher I should delight in teaching children how to measure, scoop, pour, mix and so on. But I don’t. I dislike it greatly. It’s messy, wasteful, and nothing ever really tastes right. In all honesty though, it’s probably me. I guarantee I’m not choosing kid-appropriate recipes that are easy and have a lot of room for mistakes. I also guarantee I’m in a hurry and want to serve this to people as part of a meal. That being said, here are a few rules for cooking with kids:

  1. Use inexpensive ingredients. I don’t mean use cheap, poor quality ingredients. I mean, don’t use your brand new bag of almond flour. At least, not until your child is proficient at scooping and measuring.
  2. Give age appropriate jobs. My magic trick is having my four-year-old wash the fruits and veggies. It’s perfect. He has plenty of room to work and it keeps him busy while I scoop and measure. Plus, he can help wipe up all the water he gets everywhere when he’s done.
  3. Choose a recipe you have already made yourself. Don’t try anything new.
  4. Don’t have a time limit.
  5. Don’t serve it as part of a meal. Make sure you aren’t depending on this dish.
  6. Give encouragement during and after the cooking project is complete. The fastest way to deter your child from helping in the kitchen (or anywhere) is to criticize their efforts, especially if they are early efforts.

Food Day has a great website ( so I really encourage you to check it out. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for emails. Make sure you post a picture on Rochester Media’s Facebook page of you and your child cooking.

Are you having a hard time getting your child in the kitchen? Or are you like me and really loathe it? Then head over to Home Bakery on Sunday, October 27 from 12 to 3 p.m. to decorate cookies. (Okay, I realize it’s not the healthiest food and that’s what we’re aiming for here BUT it’s supporting local business and is a BIG step in getting your kids involved in your kitchen.) Make sure you call them at (248) 651-4830 to sign your child up. The cost is $5 and it’s sure to be a great time.

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at

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