The other week, Kashi hosted a webinar where celebrity chef Domenica Catelli and Kashi’s natural food and lifestyle expert Keegan Sheridan talked about incorporating good nutritious foods in your every day meal and and making them appeal to whole family, in particular little kids. Here’s a little about the presenters. Keegan Sheridan, ND is serves as a nutrition science advisor for Kashi’s natural lifestyle leadership initiatives and is also a licensed naturopathic doctor. Chef Domenica Catelli is big promoter of healthy cooking and organic foods. She’s also the author of Mom-a-licious: Fresh, Fast, Family Food for the Hot Mama in You!, where she shares tips on how to encourage kids to eat vegetables, without hiding the ingredients. She is also the executive chef and co-owner of Catelli’s Restaurant in Northern California, originally opened by her grandparents in 1936.
The information from the webinar is mostly targeted to moms, but very interesting nonetheless. Personally, I grew up loving vegetables and never feared unfamiliar ingredients. Whatever the food, if I’m told it’s good for me, I’d probably just eat it. I never quite understood people who grew up despising broccoli, brussels sprouts, or steamed vegetables. I guess they fear that steamed vegetables translates to bland, but there’s always flavorful, healthy dressings you can serve them with. It might be my cultural upbringing, where foods like soybeans, tofu (in many forms), and spinach are just usual to me. I was raised to be very open minded about foods and not to be picky, which probably explains my adventurous nature towards food. Which brings me to the topics discussed at the webinar, many of which I can quite relate to.
The presenters talked about shaping children’s outlook on food and cooking, and how parents can shape their children’s taste preferences by expanding their palates from an early age.
- Develop their taste buds with unique flavors, by introducing new flavors and spices on a daily basis
- Create a rich experience surrounding meal time to instill a love of fresh, simple foods
- Always include one green vegetable at lunch and dinner from a very early age
They also shared tips on how to incorporate good-for-you foods into family meals, without losing the taste.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make at least half your grains whole grains
- Any animal ingredient should be organic
- Avoid canned vegetables
- Don’t overcook fresh veggies!
And in conjunction with developing palates and introducing new flavors, the presenters say not to underestimate the taste and nutritional value of certain ingredients that are often seen as “adult only,” such as: Roasted garlic and edamame, Quinoa and black beans, Oven-roasted sweet potato fries, and Glazed tofu.
Another suggestion was to get kids involved in meal preparation, which will help them understand and enjoy certain foods and ingredients. They suggest easy tasks like: Peeling garlic, Snapping asparagus, Tearing herbs, Cracking eggs, or Stirring sauces and dressings. Growing up, we were always encouraged to help out with dinner preparation. Some of my earliest kitchen tasks included washing vegetables, preparing rice in a rice cooker, and peeling oranges.
Domenica also shared two simple recipes which uses ingredients like lychee, mint, flaxseed, and kefir. One is for fruit pops and the other is a smoothie recipe.
Lychee and Blackberry Summer Fruit Pops
- 3 cups lychee juice or 2 cups fresh peeled and seeded lychee blended with 1 cup water
- 1 pint fresh blackberries (you can use raspberries or cut up strawberries)
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Popsicle molds or ice tray, toothpicks and saran wrap
- Fill the molds with a few blackberries and a bit of mint.
- Pour in juice and freeze.
Blueberry Flaxseed Smoothie
- 1 cup fresh or organic frozen blueberries (or peaches, raspberries, & strawberries)
- 1 frozen banana
- 2 cups pomegranate or other unsweetened fruit juice
- 1/2 cup kefir or plain yogurt (or 1 cup soy milk or low-fat organic milk)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- optional: If you prefer it sweeter, add honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
- Pour all ingredients into a blender and enjoy!
So Kashi is currently working on their All Family Initiative by promoting nutritious foods that everyone in the family will like, even kids, and working with Domenica Catelli to spread the word.
Right now, you can request a free sample from Kashi. Choose from either the Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Cereal or the Kashi TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bar.
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend a webinar hosted by Kashi. Nutrition tips and recipes were provided by Domenica Catelli and Kashi. The rest are solely my opinions. I received a copy of Domenica’s cookbook and a Kashi gift package for my attendance. No other compensation was made.