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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Kids Cooking Classes: Teaching kids the essentials skills and nutrition

*So excited to see one of my articles featured in this months

Good Living Magazine Tampa Bay. 
To see and read the article in the magazine you can click here. It is on pages 37-38. 



My youngest daughter, Graci,  who is 10 years-old couldn't wait for me to take her to the Kohl’s Cooks for Kids classes. Ever since her older sister, Randi, who is now 12 years-old attended the class two years ago, Graci has begged me to take her.  

Randi cooking dinner.
She took the class when
she was 10. Now she is 12.

Graci sees her sister taking over the kitchen these days cooking fabulous meals for our family and wanted to learn the basics of cooking like Randi did when she went to the cooking classes.
Grace Polson and Graci washing dishes
after making a meal during one
of the classes.
Kohl’s Cooks for Kids, is a free children’s nutrition and cooking course sponsored by Fit4AllKids at All Children’s Hospital for kids ages eight and up. It is one night a week for five weeks. The classes fill up pretty fast, so you have to register in advance.
 Parents attend with their child, so you learn together lessons about healthy eating. Parents are mainly there to help and supervise, but the kids do all the work and cook the food. They also wash the dishes!

Graci receiving her certificate the
last night of class. She is with
Amanda Babonas, Terry Edwards and
McKenna Lalomia.
The classes usually have about 18 people including the children and their parents. Graci had the same instructor Randi had from two years ago, Terry Edwards or as the kids call her "Miss Terry." You can tell she loves teaching kids about cooking as her enthusiasm is seen each week talking to kids about nutrition and healthy eating. She also had two wonderful assistants who helped out with Graci's classes, Amanda Babonas and McKenna Lalomia.

Each week the children learned about the five food groups and why we need to eat from each one. As a parent, getting my kids to eat healthy foods can sometimes be hard, but during these classes something magical happened. They are now eating foods they would never even try before.
Graci making cheese quesadillas in class.

The one rule Ms. Terry had is the kids have to try  at least one bite of the food they make. If they don’t want any more that’s ok, as long as they tried it. What’s funny is some of the kids said “Really...do I have to try it?” and by the end of the night they were asking for more food.

Each week, one of the kids at each table is picked to be the chef for the night. Being the chef is something all the kids love. The chef is in charge of cooking the meal. Graci was chef for two of the weeks meals, the Asian lettuce wraps and white chili. Both recipes were easy and prepared in less than 30 minutes.  

Graci practicing her
cooking skills at home.
The kids had to chop, cut and dice everything including the peppers and onions. The parents made sure they didn’t slice any fingers. The kids also measured all the ingredients using the measuring spoons and cups. Once everything was ready, the kids put it in the pan for Graci to cook. Once it was finished, everyone tried it.  The kids couldn’t get enough of it. They loved it.

Each week, the kids took home the recipe for the meal they made and for homework the kids had to make it for their family and share it with a friend. During the course of the five weeks, the kids were given cooking utensils to help in the kitchen. They received an apron, measuring spoons, apple corer slicer, potato peeler, pizza cutter and a cook book.

I highly recommend these classes.  Not only did we learn about nutrition and cooking, but I was able to spend quality time with each of my daughters and we met new friends. Now we have a quick, simple and healthy meals my daughters and I can make together at home. I also saw how my oldest daughter's cooking has taken off since this class two years ago. I call her "Chef Randi" because she is in the kitchen cooking all the time. I can see Graci will be the next chef in the family, now that she's learned the essentials of cooking and enjoys it.

There are several classes offered each year throughout Pinellas County. Kohl’s is a big sponsor of All Children’s and helps with this program, so it is free to families. To find out more about Kohl’s Cooks for Kids go to www.hopkinsallchildrens.org or to register for a class you can email achFit4Allkids@jhmi.edu.


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