Last week I held my first Healthy Hand Cooking Class as an official certified cooking instructor. Let me tell you that this was by far one of my most favorite events I’ve done to date. This cooking class combined everything that I love with all my heart; it combined my love for working with children, teaching them about the importance of fueling our body, cooking, and exploring new foods in a pressure free environment. The kids sat around my kitchen island as I talked with them about dead and live foods (to go along with our Halloween theme) and how and what they do once inside our body.
I had a range of children from 4-9 and I am positive all of them understood this lesson in their own little ways. We learned knife skills and they each made island and nutty ghost, creepy crawly cakes, pumpkin patch dip, and scary teeth. All the foods had live foods in them and I loved how the children got to make their own, explore all the different textures and smells, and taste something new.
As a pediatric speech language pathologist who focuses on feeding and swallowing disorders as well as picky eaters I am also a Mom of two little ones. I am a Mom who has dealt with picky eating and have been in the trenches as well as seen the progress and felt the happiness when you are slowly getting to the other side of picky eating. To me picky eating is a beast and comes with multiple layers. Like any feeding or swallowing delay/disorder picky eating also needs to be looked at in a similar manner. First, any medical issues should be identified and addressed. For us, this was constipation. Reflux can go hand and hand with constipation as well and this was something that played a role in our situation. The constipation played a role in how my little one felt on the inside and it impacted his hunger cues. Once medical issues are controlled then we can begin to move forward.
Mindset for us parents needs to shift from pressuring our children and short order cooking to us, as parents, deciding what we will eat and where we will eat. Leaving the children to decide IF and HOW much they will eat. This is called division of responsibility and once I started implementing this in my own home, I can’t tell you how much better our mealtimes got. It wasn’t over night, but it was a lot quicker than I thought it would be. We weren’t fussing about what foods to eat and our little one was coming to the table with a happy attitude and enjoyed mealtimes so much more. Surprisingly this really took away a lot of the anxiety, tension, and pressure I felt at mealtimes. These are typical feelings parents have when dealing with a picky eater or a child with a feeding difficult. See, our children feed off us and feel every bit of anxiety and tension that we have. Guess what? They have it too and it is intensified when we have it. I think the foundations for helping our picky eaters starts with identifying medical complications, pressure, and schedules. There is much more to this and I will save more info for another post. If you have read my other blog posts then you may have realized that I tend to get on a soapbox and then realize I need to get back on track and back to my original post. 😊
So, regarding the cooking class. This class allows children to explore different foods without any pressure and in a fun and positive way. It also allows children to see, smell, touch, and learn about foods that they may not be exposed to at home. After all, isn’t that how eating should be? Something we enjoy? Something we look forward to? I sure think so. I would love to bring my cooking classes to you. If you would like to learn more about healthy hands cooking classes and see which ones I have scheduled, then CLICK HERE