Getting kids excited about healthy food is a challenge for many parents, with mealtime complaints about vegetables a common theme at many dinner tables.
Gig Harbor resident Kristi Fischer is working to engage kids in healthy eating and solve mealtime woes by involving them in the cooking and preparing of meals with her new Healthy Kids in the Kitchen classes.
“I’ve noticed with my kids that if they get into the kitchen and cook the meal, they’re a lot more excited to eat it,” she explained. “I thought, ‘I need to get kids in the kitchen and get them cooking and get them excited about it.’”
A personal trainer and massage therapist, Fischer had previous experience teaching healthy habits. She has also taught classes for children through PenMet Parks, which is also handling registration for her Healthy Kids cooking classes.
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I’ve noticed with my kids that if they get into the kitchen and cook the meal they’re a lot more excited to eat it. I thought, ‘I need to get kids in the kitchen and get them cooking and get them excited about it.’
“My business is all about wellness. I talk to all my classes about healthy choices,” Fischer said. “I have an obsession with food. I love to cook. I love to figure out healthy recipes.”
With families finding it harder to carve out time to cook and eat family meals together, Fischer hopes that by engaging children in healthy choices and having them learn some basic kitchen skills that their enthusiasm will encourage parents to make family meal times a priority.
“The idea with Kids in the Kitchen is that if I can get the kids excited for cooking and making healthy choices, that’s really going to carry over,” she explained. “If you really start instilling those healthy habits at this age, you get them involved in making healthy choices.”
The class is designed for children ages 8 to 14, and Fischer — with the help of both her mother and mother-in-law — teaches kitchen safety, measurements, how to read a recipe and check for ingredients, and proper knife handling.
The idea with Kids in the Kitchen is that if I can get the kids excited for cooking and making healthy choices that’s really going to carry over. If you really start instilling those healthy habits at this age, you get them involved in making healthy choices.
“If you can teach the kids the proper ways to use (a knife) and they have a good, sharp knife, they’re going to be much safer than if they’re using a dull knife without any background knowledge,” she said.
Fischer provides all the equipment and ingredients for the class and sends students home with the recipes they prepared and several other recipes to try out.
She also encourages variety, in food and in class, with different recipes for each class so students can keep taking classes to hone their skills and continue growing their passion for food and healthy eating.
“When they hear (about healthy eating) from an outside source and when they’re involved in something like this, where they’re involved and they’re excited, then it’s going to carry over,” Fischer said. “It’s lots of fun. I’m super excited about the program ... I see a lot of potential for this program and growing it and doing a lot of different things with it.”
Registration for Healthy Kids in the Kitchen is through PenMet Parks on its website at penmetparks.org. Classes are held at Rosedale Hall, located at 8205 86th Avenue in Gig Harbor.
Fischer can be reached by email at email@example.com or through her website at fischerfitness.com.