GETTING KIDS TO EAT

Harry enjoys peeling his carrots for lunch.

Kids don’t always want to eat. No matter how much thought or effort we put into meals, some days they can be picky or unwilling to try new things.

In the early days we had success in getting our kids to eat and try new foods with “deconstructed” versions of our AF+K recipes.

When making Smoked Salmon Chowder Joy would portion out pieces of salmon and cooked potatoes to be eaten separately. Now, Ana loves the the chowder. It was easier to convince her to try it by reminding her she liked the individual ingredients.

Since our recipes all start with whole foods, it’s an easy task to portion out small bites while making your meals. By doing this, everyone in the family is eating the same food which experts say is essential in normalizing variety in your child’s diet.

ACME Farms + Kitchen Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad   

AF+K Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad and deconstruction version.

Research shows that sometimes kids need to try a new food 7-15 times before they acquire a taste for it. By encouraging kids to try at least one bite, you’re that much closer to their acceptance of something new. When meals are broken down into individual ingredients it's easier to try one bite and to experience the specific flavors and textures of different foods.

Another way to encourage eating is to replicate meals they like with items that are similar but integrate new-to-them ingredients. Do they love grilled cheese? Try a cheese quesadilla, (you can sneak some kale in there too) it’s similar, yet adds variety to what they're eating. Do they like hamburgers with a favorite condiment? How about a Black Bean Burger with the same condiment? 

Experts also suggest that it can help if parents show enthusiasm for the food they’d like their kids to eat. We have customers tell us that receiving their Locavore Box every week feels just like Christmas, so exciting to open and unload their box. Share that enthusiasm with your kids. Let them help you unload the box. Get them excited well in advance of eating.

Try pointing out fun or interesting things about your meal - the color of the pretty purple cabbage or that a particular item came from a place you visited like a local farm or the Farmers Market, that beans come from leafy green plants, etc.

Overall, it’s been found that children learn their healthy eating habits from their parents and most specifically from seeing them eat good food and sharing it with them. So, if you’re having a tough time in your family or you’d just like your kids to eat new foods try “deconstructing” your next AF+K meal.

 

 

KIDS IN THE GARDEN

There’s no better way to learn where our food comes from than to sink our hands in the soil. To help plant seeds and patiently await sprouts to spring from the earth. To pull weeds and dig for the friendly worms that amend our soil. To watch yard trimmings and table scraps turn into luscious compost. To hide and play in cornstalks and sneak sweet raspberries from the canes. To dig up potatoes and eat fresh peas right off the vine. To work together as a family to cultivate the food that will become future meals.

Research shows that there are many benefits for children who work in the garden. Much like helping to cook food, it’s been found that kids are more likely to eat vegetables they’ve helped grow and in general, kids who help in the garden have more positive attitudes towards eating fruits and vegetables. It’s also been found when kids spend time in the garden their appreciation for nature and the environment improves and that they're more likely to become adults who garden and grow their own food.

At ACME Farms + Kitchen we want to help more kids have the experience of gardening so this week we’ll be donating proceeds from the sale of our Pi Day Pie Kits. For each kit sold we’ll donate $5 of the sale to one of the organizations below. Please take some time to read more about these important organizations.

(For Bellingham and Seattle area customers orders are due by 10am on Monday, 7th. For Portland customers orders are due by midnight, Sunday 6th. Visit our SHOP page to order.)

Students enjoy Cooking in the Classroom with Common Threads Farm. Photo courtesy of Common Threads Farm. 

 

Common Threads Farm is a Bellingham based non-profit that works with schools throughout the area to plan and grow vegetable gardens as an educational opportunity for students. The aim of Common Threads is to help raise kids who know how to grow, prepare and eat healthy food. Their School Garden Program offers a class room educator, a mobile cooking cart (because eating what you’ve grown is the best part), and coordination of donated gardening materials including seeds, starts, compost, and wood chips. If your child’s school doesn’t already have an educational garden, we encourage you to take a look at Common Threads resources and to make a connection with your school. Help all kids have the opportunity to learn how good food grows. https://commonthreadsfarm.org

 

Harvesting at Sauvie Island Center. Photo courtesy of Sauvie Island Cener

   

Sauvie Island Center works to educate elementary aged school children in the Portland area about food, farming, and the environment. Field trips to Sauvie Island Organic farm and Howell Territorial Park are the perfect educational adventure. Kids learn about healthy soil, do plant part investigations, inspect the landscape for wildlife foraging, and learn about the critical role pollinators play in our food system. Students also get to plant, tend, harvest, and eat veggies from the Grow Lunch Garden. Contact the Center to schedule a field trip or check their website for summer camp opportunities. http://www.sauvieislandcenter.or

 

 Seattle Tilth

Seattle Tilth program participants. Photo courtesy of Seattle Tilth.

 

Seattle Tilth offers garden and farm education for kids and teens. Through garden and farm tours, a mobile garden classroom, and summer camps young people discover where food comes from. Seattle Tilth’s programs give kids the opportunity to taste fresh vegetables straight from the garden or farm, tend and harvest crops, collect seeds, make compost, learn about worms, insects and other pollinators, and explore our natural environment in hands-on science based learning. Check their website for details on bringing hands-on experiences to the classroom and for summertime camps, tours and classes for kids of all ages. http://www.seattletilth.org/learn/kids/kids-and-families

COOKING WITH KIDS

Cooking with Kids

Cooking [from scratch] is “the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well-being.” – Michael Pollan

When we started ACME Farms + Kitchen we did it with our families in mind. We want to feed our kids the best food possible. We enjoy watching them learn about good food choices, how food made from scratch is prepared, and we especially love seeing them develop a taste for a wide variety of different flavors and textures.

It can definitely be a challenge to prepare meals that are healthy and we know that sometimes when we do, kids don’t always want to eat what we prepare. Our hope is that by using AF+K Locavore Boxes, full of interesting, colorful and flavorful local foods, it’s easier for you and your family to eat food you feel good about and enjoy. We also hope it makes it easier to share the experience of preparing food and to pass on the skills needed to help your kids feel comfortable in the kitchen.

Ana helps make handpies.

There are a lot of positive outcomes when kids help cook.

  • The more kids are involved with the food they eat, the more likely they are to try new things. They’re also more willing to eat what they’ve helped prepare!
  • When kids help prepare and eat a variety of healthy foods they are more likely to develop a taste for whole foods and less likely to crave processed foods. This sets them up for good habits as adults.
  • By inviting our kids to help prepare meals, we’re teaching them an important life skill and giving them self confidence in the kitchen.
  • Cooking is also a great way to teach other transferable skills. Reading recipes, following directions, measuring, using math, seeing cause and effect, developing motor skills, identifying different types of foods and the tools used in cooking are all excellent learning experiences.
  • Spending time in the kitchen is also a great way to have quality family time and to connect with one another. It’s the perfect time to talk about good food choices and how by eating well, we’re taking care of ourselves and staying healthy. It’s also a sweet way to make family memories.

            Etta in the kitchen with Cara's grandmother.

            Etta in the kitchen with Cara's grandmother. 

            Throughout the month of March, look for tips on your weekly recipe sheets for ways your kids can get involved with your family meals. Also watch for other fun ways to get your kids excited about eating and cooking. Together we can grow the next generation of healthy kids that love good food!

             

            PARKVIEW ELEMENTARY HEALTHY SNACK

            Once a month ACME Farms + Kitchen partners with Parkview Elementary School PTA to provide a healthy snack or treat for the school's 335 students. The kids love these scratch-made goodies prepared with locally sourced ingredients.

            This past Friday the kids were treated to Cranberry Oat Bars. The bars included whole wheat pastry flour from Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, Lonesome Whistle Farm rolled oats, Larsen's Creamery butter, and cranberries from Starvation Alley Farms.

            These monthly snacks are a fun way to get the students to experience new flavors and scratch cooking. Past treats have included sweet potato hummus with rainbow carrots, apple cinnamon muffins, veggie kabobs with homemade ranch dressing,  scratch-made pretzel sticks with honey mustard, and kale dusted Dakota Black Popcorn. 

            At ACME Farms + Kitchen we love the opportunity to provide this food to the kids of Parkview and would like to share some of the experience with you too.

            Treat yourself and family to some Cranberry Oat Bars!

            Cranberry Oat Bars

            Crust and Topping
            2C whole wheat pastry flour
            1C rolled oats
            1C sugar
            1/2 tsp salt
            1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
            1 cup butter cold, cubed
            1/2 cup sliced almonds
            Filling
            4C frozen cranberries (~28 oz)
            4 Tbsp sugar
            1 Tbsp cornstarch
            1 tsp lemon zest
            1/3C orange juice
            Instructions
            1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 13x9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
            2. In a bowl, mix together flour, oats, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add butter and mix with an electric mixer or pastry cutter until small clumps of dough form. Remove and reserve 2 cups of this mixture.
            3. Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Set aside.
            4. In a sauce pan, combine the cranberries, orange juice, sugar, cornstarch and lemon peel and cook until the cranberries pop. Pour mixture over the top of the crust.
            5. Add sliced almonds to the reserved oat mixture and mix well. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cranberries.
            6. Bake until the topping is golden-brown and the cranberries have begun to bubble, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely then cut into bars.

            WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

            Meet Etta, Harry and Ana, the reason we started ACME Farms + Kitchen.

            As mothers it's especially important to us to find clean, local food options to feed our families. We found it challenging to easily source all the items we needed with little ones in tow so we launched our on-line shop. Today we're proud to offer products from multiple farms, bakeries, creameries and artisan food producers making it easier for you to provide good food for your family too.

            We've seen such a positive impact on our children who aren't afraid to eat new things, on our local food economy by increasing the amount of local food that is purchased, and on our customers who say they now eat better than they ever have before.

            We strive to make it as easy for you as possible to eat really good food and to feel confident about where it comes from. You're sure to enjoy the variety of items in your box, the delicious recipes, the convenience, and knowing you're making a difference by supporting the local producers in your region and the greater Pacific Northwest.

             

            Etta's Favorite - Shrimp Tacos

             

            Harry's Favorite - Pesto Pasta

             

            Ana's Favorite - Smoked Salmon Chowder

            Click photos for recipes to try with your family.