Tips for raising an adventurous eater
By Karen Kerr, registered holistic nutritional consultant
“Foodie” is a trendy term, meaning different things to different people. My definition is simply someone who has an interest in, and is excited about, food. They say “yes” to new dishes, not just sticking with tried and true.
With kids, it can be easy to get stuck on what they will eat. I’m solidly against food waste, but you don’t know if they will like new flavours until they try them. To reduce the chance of them totally rejecting a new meal, tweak a dish they already love. Switch a vegetable or use a different spice. Think little steps. You are building a foundation, not the whole house.
Here are six ways to encourage the burgeoning foodie.
1. Take them to farmers markets and let them ask the vendors questions. It will give them an appreciation of all the hard work they do.
2. Subscribe to a local weekly vegetable box. When it arrives, take three vegetables from the box and ask them to Google or search TikTok for a recipe they’d like to make. You look cool and they get invested in the process!
3. Be open. Are you in a rut making the same meals over and over? Kids learn by modelling.
4. As they get older, give them a day of the month when they get to choose what’s for supper. Encourage them to try something they’ve never had.
5. Get their hands dirty. Let them grow veggies either in a pot or small garden that is all theirs to care for. Learning the time, patience and attention that growing requires gives them insight and respect for the food that sustains us.
6. Ask a local forager if your family can join them on a trek. Learning about common plants in our environment that are edible is fun and educational.
This kind of approach will lead to lots of failures and “Yucks,” but that’s the point. New opportunities present themselves every day. Perhaps kids staying open and curious about food will spill over to friendships, careers and travel.
Take it from this foodie, what I ate today barely resembles what I ate growing up. I’ve added spices and fresh herbs, I use a tagine and juicer, and grow my own sprouts — all things I was not exposed to during my small-town New Brunswick upbringing.
I’ve taken family recipes and revamped them, and I’m still learning every day. Being a foodie has expanded my world and encouraged me to travel it, which is something I want to pass on to my daughter. One day our kids will live on their own and it will be up to them to make the choices on what to eat. I hope the world is their oyster.
Quick and easy egg bites
This is a great recipe to encourage foodie-like experimentation. Double the recipe for an easy brunch with friends, or freeze for weekday snacks and lunch boxes.
You will need
1 tsp ghee, coconut oil or unsalted butter (for greasing the pan)
9 or 10 Eggs (depending on size)
Sea salt and pepper as needed
Feta, Jack or mozzarella cheese to top
Chopped baby spinach and yellow/red peppers, ham, bacon or whatever is local and in season
Salsa, hot sauce, avocado, fresh herbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
2. Combine the eggs, sea salt and black pepper in a high-powered blender or whisk in a bowl for about 30 seconds.
3. Put the veggies/meat in first then pour the egg mixture until it’s about ¾ full. Top with cheese. Eggs will rise.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked through (depending on your oven). Transfer to a wire rack and cool for about five minutes. Run a butter knife around the edge of each cup and pop out the egg bites.
5. If eating right away, you can add salsa, avocado or fresh herbs.