The Great Indoors: Classes teach kids tasty, healthy cooking

Are your children stuck in a food rut? Are you living in a world filled with macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and PB-and-J?

Many American moms and dads would answer yes. Many children don’t like variety when it comes to eating. They know what they like. As much as we parents try to introduce them to new foods, including healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, we know it doesn’t always work. We get turned up noses and grimaces.

But there is a key to getting your child to try new and healthier food, and it’s pretty simple. Let them help.

Child development experts say getting a child more invested in the food he or she eats leads to a higher likelihood that the child will at least try the food.

For example, take your child to the grocery store with you. Have her pick out the best vegetables and healthy snack options. Or have him help you make dinner.

Nutrition consultant and private personal trainer Danielle Irving is making that a little easier. Through her business, BodyHeartMind, she offers cooking classes for kids ages 6 to 14.

Her goal is to introduce as many new foods, procedures and tools as possible.

You’ll find the kids cooking with foods they might not normally eat, such as cabbage, turnips, quinoa, avocados, asparagus, edamame and more.

They’ll also learn kitchen skills like measuring, cutting, chopping, washing and using the oven. She also provides a nutrition lesson with each class and the children get to prepare the food themselves.

“Tasting is not required but definitely allowed!” she says.

Danielle invited “The Great Indoors” to her last class. We met an enthusiastic group of children ready to take on the task of making eggplant fries, a delicious, crispy substitute for regular fries. They looked like they were having a blast. And no one seemed to miss the mac and cheese.


Eggplant “fries”

1-2 eggplant, sliced into “French fry” shapes
2 eggs, beaten with a fork
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs), regular bread crumbs or crushed crisp rice cereal
1 cup ground flax seed
1 cup parmesan cheese

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Gently mix together bread crumbs, flax and cheese.
-Dip the fry pieces, several at a time, in the egg, tap off to remove excess.
-Roll generously in the crumb mixture
-Place on a parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

For more information or a class schedule go to