Farm-to-Table eating simply means that there are few steps between where your food is grown and your fork, implying fresh, seasonal, and local cuisine. There are many benefits to eating local, as outlined in our post from earlier this week on Supporting Your Local Farmer’s Market. This philosophy focused on very fresh ingredients is one that you can easily get kids excited about by helping them learn about and getting them more involved with their food.
To kick off the farmer’s market and CSA food share season, hit the library or local bookstore and stock up on books that teach kids more about their food. These are some of our favorites.
We often hear about ‘eating the rainbow.’ Colorful fruits and veggies are key to a varied and nutrition-rich diet. What could be more fun to eat than beautiful fruits and vegetables that represent the rainbow? In Eating the Alphabet, author Lois Ehlert teaches letters with a unique twist. She focuses on a varied palette of fruits and vegetables from around the world. The book also includes a glossary with information about each food.
The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids by Ruby Roth is the perfect way to get your kids more engaged with developing healthy eating habits. The book is full of simple veggie-based recipes that kids can make on their own and get excited about. It also teaches kids fun facts about healthy eating along the way.
How Did that Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food follows the contents of a typical lunchbox all the way to the source. Teaching kids about where the food that they eat comes from is such an important part of them making a greater connection to their nutrition. This picture book explains the concepts of farming, food production and logistics to children through beautifully illustrated infographics that the whole family will enjoy.
The Forest Feast for Kids is equally suited to a spot on your child’s bookshelf or on your coffee table. This vegetarian children’s cookbook also serves as an entertainment guide and includes a food glossary and an illustrated guide to kitchen safety.
Summer is the perfect time to enroll your kids in a cooking class. There are cooking schools and programs throughout the country geared toward school breaks and vacations. Sur La Table Kids & Teens Summer Cooking Series offers both 5-day bootcamps and 4-day holiday week camps in many locations throughout the U.S. Williams-Sonoma offers Junior Chef Classes available in most stores. The Junior Chef Summer Series is suitable for ages 8-13 and includes classes like Cast-Iron Mac & Cheese and American Girl: Pocket Pies. Whole Foods Kids Club is another great resource for classes available throughout the U.S. In addition to nationally available classes, check your immediate area for unique and local options for children’s cooking classes.
Plant Your Food
At Le Petit Cotillion, we are big proponents of getting kids into the garden. Planting staples that make simple additions to any meal, such as herbs or micro-greens is an easy way to help children make the farm-to-table (or more accurately the garden-to-fork) connection. Perhaps the simplest meal that can be easily comprised from a kid’s container garden is a pizza. We love Leapfrog’s Plant a Pizza Activity, which encourages kids to grow a garden with all the ingredients for a perfect pizza party – tomatoes, basil, oregano, peppers and onions.