KIDS IN THE KITCHEN // real talk with five cookbook authors


What happens when you put five cookbook authors on a panel and ask them about their kids? You get REAL answers.

Last week the 92Y hosted Raising Happy Eaters in a Time of Food Craziness featuring Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl, Alana Chernila of Eating from the Ground Up + The Homemade Kitchen + The Homemade Pantry, Katie Workman of The Mom 100 Cookbook, Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner: A Love Story, and Jenna Helwig of Real Baby Food + Parents Magazine.

All of these women are published authors and powerhouse Mom’s who like to cook. Jenna Helwig led the panel and asked a series of questions that discussed parenting, specific eaters, allergies, and kids in the kitchen… read up on some of the discussion below!

Q: How do we get kids to eat more vegetables?

  • The answer is still up for debate! However Katie Workman suggested exposing children to vegetables at an early age; Shauna Ahern agreed and mentioned that it’s healthier to have children enjoy their meal than to raise eaters with guilt; Jenny Rosenstrach mentioned deconstructing dinnertime meals (ex: wild salmon salad) so children can have ownership of what they want to put into their bodies.

Q: Parents today are incredibly busy. When you’re thinking of a meal for your kids and want to get food onto the table, what should be the priority? Is it eating organic?

  • The group consensus was unanimous. The panelists were more concerned about creating a positive environment for their kids by sitting down and eating a meal together as a family (at least once a week) than feeding them 100% organic food.

Q: How do we raise happy eaters? Does it involve cooking?

  • The panel agreed that raising happy eaters involves cooking at home (at least once a week); they like the warmth from the oven, the sizzle on the stove, and the aromatic smells throughout the home to create a positive environment for their kids… however Alana Chernila added that it’s not just about the parents cooking, the kids should be in the kitchen too. Based on her experience, she had to step out of the kitchen so her kids could make a mess, experiment with food and learn.


Trying asking your child, “How do you feel?”

Overall, I thought this panel was so insightful! Parents today are doing their best to raise their families while working full-time jobs. I absolutely loved how they focused on sitting down with their families instead of talking about organic kale. With all the debates going on about where our food is coming from, what we’re putting into our bodies, and how to choose the highest quality food… it was refreshing to hear them put their family first. I also found it extremely motherly when they mentioned the awareness in their vocabulary when they discuss food with their kids (ex: they’re not picky, they’re specific; or they’ll use questions like, “How do you feel?” instead saying, “that’s not healthy”). I’m looking forward to reading all of their books (The Mom 100Gluten Free Girl American Classics Re-Invented, The Homemade KitchenReal Baby Food, Dinner: A Love Story) and learning the best ways to get meals on the table, because we’re all busy with or without kids!

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