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Catherine is an idol-figure to mothers around the country. From a young age, Catherine has understood the impact that foods have on our health. Due to a passion with foods she attended the Institute for Culinary Education located in Manhattan. Through her sole passion and expertise of cooking, she became the go-to-girl among her family and friends that were searching for recipes for their young children. This is where the starting foundation of Weelicious began. Coordinating around a busy schedule, this mother of two preaches the importance of engaging children with assisting in cooking and incorporating healthy eating routines.
The main focus of Weelicious is that to educate and involve children in every aspect of making meals. Children need an all hands on deck experience so that it triggers questions and makes them excited about eating healthy!
We were thrilled to have Catherine participate in an interview.
Q: “How and/or what are a few ways to engage younger children with making dinner?”
Catherine: “Kids can get involved starting at any age! Very young children can sit on the counter and munch away at the various ingredients you are prepping. Or sit them in their high chair near you and throw some bite-sized scraps on their tray for them to taste and explore. Toddlers can help measure, pour and mix ingredients. Give them their own bowl and mixing spoon to play with or use to mix their own small portion of whatever you’re making. Toddlers also love to push the “go” button on blenders and food processors. Explain that it will be loud and make a game of it together by pressing go and quickly covering your ears together!”
Q: “How do we make cooking more fun for them?”
Catherine: “Engage them in every step of the way! Take them grocery shopping and let them choose a new fruit or vegetable to take home and taste. Then cut up the vegetable together and taste it. If you’ll be cooking it, taste it together after it’s cooked and talk about how it looks and tastes different than raw. Give kids their own tools to use in the kitchen, everything from measuring cups to bowls to mixing spoons. Let them stir the pot of pasta or soup, of course with careful supervision. Turn on the oven light and watch your food cooking through the door. When dinner is ready, let them help you serve it, or give them the first taste. Kids love taking ownership for things so make sure to announce that they made dinner and talk about how yummy it is and what a good job they’ve done!”
As honesty being the utmost policy at Weelicious, vegetables should not be secretly hidden in meals. Children should be fully aware of what they are eating.
Q: “How can we arrange vegetable to appear more appealing to children?
Catherine: “Kids love things they can easily hold and dip! Cut carrots into coins or sticks, slice bell peppers in half and then use tiny cookie cutters to cut them into shapes, make melons into balls. Serve a dip (hummus, pesto, ranch, etc…) to make eating the veggies more interactive.”
Littlest Tumor: “What is your favorite vegetable to incorporate in meals?
Catherine: “My kids love bright orange veggies like butternut squash! We dice and roast it, sometimes we drizzle it with maple syrup to make it have a more sweet taste, we throw it into salads, soups, and sometimes just serve it as its own pureed side dish!”
Not only are we engaging children in making dinner, we are also setting up healthy eating habits for the rest of their lives.