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Get a head start with my researched and field tested tool kit so that your child can thrive too.


How learning to cook can empower your child

Empower your child

Join me in a conversation with Katie Kimball, as she explains how learning to cook can empower your child!

Things You Will Learn
  • How to eat healthily without losing all of your time, mind and budget!
  • Strategies to help kids eat healthier in general
  • The benefits of giving your kids a sense of ownership of their dinner
  • How to build choice and agency into your child's day as well as educate them about the importance of food
  • Why cooking is more than just kitchen work, and how learning to cook can impact kids in other ways
  • Why learning to cook is a great tool for kids and families that follow dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free diets as well as other diets.
  • An overview of the excellent Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.
  • And much more…

Show Notes

  • Why Katie created the blog Kitchen Stewardship (1:08)
  • Strategies around helping kids eat healthier in general (3:36)
  • Reasons why some parents are not teaching their kids to cook and the importance of taking the time to teach your kids to cook early (7:40)
  • Strategies to help your kids take charge of their own health (10:00)
  • Why cooking is more than just kitchen work (17:20)
  • Tips to supercharge dinnertime and make use of the limited time properly (24:35)
  • An overview of the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse (27:42)
  • Where can people find the Kids Cook Real Food e-course and the Kitchen Stewardship blog (37:10)

Resources and Links

Kitchen Stewardship

Kids Cook Real Food eCourse

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More about Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, the national voice of healthy kids cooking, is a blogger, former teacher, and mom of 4 kids who founded the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. Her blog, Kitchen Stewardship helps families stay healthy without going crazy, and she’s on a mission to connect families around healthy food and teach every child in America to cook.


Tara Hunkin (00:00):
This is the My Child Will Thrive Podcast and I'm your host, Tara Hunkin, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Gaps Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner and Mother. I'm thrilled to share with you the latest information, tips, resources, and tools to help you on the path to recovery for your child with ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder, or learning disabilities. My own experiences with my daughter combined with as much training as I can get my hands on, research I can dig into, and conferences I can attend have helped me to develop systems and tools for parents like you who feel overwhelmed trying to help their children. So sit back as I share another great topic to help you on your journey.

Tara Hunkin (00:46):
A quick disclaimer before we get started, My Child Will Thrive, is not a substitute for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. The information provided on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat your child. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before implementing any information or treatments that you have learned about on this podcast. There are many gifted, passionate and knowledgeable practitioners with hundreds if not thousands of hours of study and clinical experience available to help guide you. Part of our goal is to give you the knowledge and tools you need to effectively advocate for your child so that you don't blindly implement each new treatment that comes along. No one knows your child better than you. No one knows your child's history like you do or can better judge what is normal or abnormal for your child. The greatest success in recovery comes from the parent being informed and asking the right questions and making the best decisions for their child in coordination with a team of qualified practitioners in different areas of specialty. Now on with the show,

Tara Hunkin (01:53):
Hi everyone and welcome back to the My Child Will Thrive Podcast. I am excited to introduce you today, Katie Kimball. Katie is the national voice of healthy kids cooking. She's a blogger, a former teacher, a mom of four kids who has founded the kid. The kids cook real food eCourse, which is amazing. And her blog, kitchen stewardship, which helps families stay healthy without going crazy, which is we like, and she's on a mission to connect families around healthy food and teach every child in America and beyond to cook. So that's the great thing about the internet. You can even reach beyond that now. So, Katie, welcome to the podcast. I'm really excited to have you here today because one of the biggest challenges we face as parents is getting our kids to enjoy eating healthy. So it's not just to get them to eat, but they, we want them to choose it for themselves as well. So yes. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started out? Like why did you create kitchen stewardship in the first place? Your blog.

Katie Kimball (03:04):
Yeah, I mean, I was raised by a mom who cooked probably a little more from scratch then, like the rest of the kids in my generation. And so I would have said like, my Mom's an amazing cook and she makes homemade bread and stuff like at Christmas. But it was, there was still a ton of processed food and like I had never cut an a pepper or fresh garlic or anything like that in my life until I got p. Yeah, for the first time. And you know, you just like realize that this little tiny life is depending on you for every single bite. And so that was like the very beginning of me sort of making a lot of little baby steps. And by the time baby number two was born, I had spent a lot of time in the kitchen, a lot of time at the cutting board, like thinking and processing.

Katie Kimball (03:48):
And I'm a former teacher, so it's just like, it comes really naturally to me to think about teaching other people everything I'm doing. And, and other moms around me were saying like, man, it's so hard. Like if I try to eat organic, it's too expensive. If I try to like make things from scratch, I don't have time for that. And so I felt, I felt other people's tension, like pulling you in all these directions. And I, and I would think as I'm chopping or cooking, preparing food in the kitchen, like, you know, there really are some habits and techniques you can do in the kitchen that like get everything, they're budget friendly, they don't take that much time and they're really nutritious and they're good for the environment. So those are the four pillars of kitchen stewardship where we try to find those habits to kind of meet in the middle.

Katie Kimball (04:30):
And that's the not going crazy part. Like how can you be healthy without completely losing your mind, your time and your budget and still take care of your family's nutrition and the environment. So that's where kitchen stewardship sort of grew out of was me wanting to just teach other people like, you can do this, give yourself grace. Just take those baby steps instead of trying to change everything all at once, which is a pretty solid recipe for failure. And, and just watch yourself grow. And so we, we dig into research a lot and share simple recipes and techniques there.

Tara Hunkin (04:57):
That's amazing. It is amazing how many of us, even in our generation, didn't learn to cook. And so it becomes obviously if you haven't even learned yourself or you know, only have some basic skills yourself, then to then try to pass that along actually we're passing the wrong thing along to the next generation, which is, and a lot of that is driven out of the lack of time that people feel like they have to do these things. So well I'm sure we'll get into that a little bit too. But let's talk about strategies around first of all that you found to help kids eat a healthier in general.

Katie Kimball (05:37):
I like to flip this question on its head a little bit because I think a lot of times when families struggle with healthy eating, we focus on the dinner table. We focused on the food we're eating them. And there are some really good strategies too for just kind of the how and why of eating at the dinner table. But I really think that it's even more effective and more powerful to rewind a little bit and forget the dinner table all together and talk about what we do before dinner even hits the table. Are we getting the kids involved in the kitchen when number one, there's no pressure to eat. That's huge because kids feel that like, Oh mom and dad want me to eat. And it's this big power struggle and it's confusing and I don't like it. But when you're in the kitchen that pressure's not there.

Katie Kimball (06:21):
And science also tells us that any exposure to food helps sort of fill that exposure bucket. And so especially for our very slow active eaters. They might need 157 exposures to a food, let's say broccoli before they're going to eat it. And that's a lot of little pieces of broccoli to put on your kid's plate, man. 157 like I'm tired just thinking about it. But if they shop for the food, wash the food, cut the food, serve the food, the, all those counts. So you can like fill that exposure bucket much quicker with less pressure on the child. So that's the second reason. So less pressure to eat, filling that exposure bucket and then feeling a sense of ownership, right? Like kids when they're involved with making the food, there's a certain sense of like an open loop where they almost want to complete that loop by at least tasting it and experiencing, you know, beginning to end the whole process.

Katie Kimball (07:15):
And parents will say, well, I've had my kids try preparing food before and it didn't work. They did not eat that thing. And I'm like, well, it's not, you know, it's not a sprint. It's a marathon and it's not magic pixie dust. Like, you'll try it, you know, prepare the food and they've, thou shall eat it. No, but it helps. It helps nudge them in the right direction. And like you said, we don't want kids to just eat the food as if it's a prescription. We want them to take ownership, to believe that it's both good for them and fun for them so that when they're out of our houses, whether that's, you know, when they're in middle school or high school, they're out of our homes a lot more. Or when they're adults on their own, we want them to be able to actually both have the capacity and the skills and the desire to cook and eat healthy food for themselves.

Tara Hunkin (08:01):
Yeah, no, that's a, it is a really big one. I mean, we, I hear often, well my kids are at the age where they're, they're young, you know, they're teenagers and they get more and more freedom and ability to go select what they're eating now because they're there. It's not as constrained by the four walls of our home or what I, you know, they, I made sure that it goes in their lunch in the past, they now pack their own lunch, but even then when they get outside or they go to friend's house, which happens more and more, they you have to make sure they're making great choices. And, and the only way I can think of that, that will really works longterm is to educate them on why they need to be eating well and, and showing them, like you said, through exposure in the kitchen, which I think is a really great way of looking at it. The more they see that and appreciate that, I think they really do start to it ingrains in them. Something opposed to just because I told you so it doesn't work.

Katie Kimball (08:59):
Yeah. And even if a child believes that healthy food's important, if they don't know how to cut an onion or they don't know how to take meat out of a package and get it from raw to edible, like they're still going to probably fall back on convenience foods or spend a lot of money on like expensive, pre-prepared kind of whole foods stuff, you know? So then you've got to, you've got to build those skills or they're going to flounder. Yeah. So what I touched on a little bit, but why do you think that most parents aren't teaching their kids to cook? Yeah, it's hard. Like no bones about it. First of all because many of us maybe weren't taught to cook his kids. And that's sort of, that's the story I started hearing from my community at kitchen stewardship. Like, man, I really do want to be healthy, but I was never even taught to cook.

Katie Kimball (09:48):
Like I don't have the foundation. And, and I could see it happening in my own house to where like I was not necessarily teaching my kids to cook. And here I was teaching people like all around the world to cook and I was a teacher. I have a teaching degree. I'm like, Oh my gosh, I'm forgetting the most important people in my life. So that's, I mean, that's why I started. Kids could grow food just because I know a, like if we don't have the skills, we're not passing it on and be, I think a lot of parents say like, man, kids are too, messy. Kids are too slow. Like I need to get dinner on the table stat. There's no way I can slow down. A lot of kids by the time where it kind of interested in teaching them when they're eight and nine years old, they're not very motivated anymore.

Katie Kimball (10:25):
They're like, Aw, man. And you're thinking, yeah, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I like, I've had to do, you know, make your bed, get dressed, brush your teeth, do your homework, amount of energy for, come cook dinner with me. You know what I mean? So, so there's, there's no doubt about it that it's just difficult. And so my mission here is to figure out like, how do we motivate each other? How do we motivate parents in general to be like, Oh my gosh, this is as important as homework and brushing your teeth and maybe more important than making your bed.

Tara Hunkin (10:55):
Yeah. Yeah. Really. I mean, what's, what's going to happen if a bed's not made, right. Right. What's going to happen? Well, and I think what's really interesting about that too when you talk about even making the bed is that if, if they're not preparing or cooking a proper breakfast for themselves to, or with you in, in the morning, we do tend to lean on convenience food, then because that's usually the busiest time in terms of getting people out in the morning. So yeah, it is about choosing what were you spending our time with in the mornings in particular. And not making it, not worrying about the bed as much and maybe worrying a little bit more about what's going on in the kitchen. And I, I'm just as guilty for that in the past as well. Now I let the beds go unmade, makes me Twitch a little bit, But, but, but the world still revolves that way. We can, we can do that. So what do you find are strategies that you think are the best for helping your kids take charge of their own health and well, and, and really the whole family.

Katie Kimball (12:07):
Yeah. So just to like let people understand, I my kids are five, eight, 11 and 14 right now. So I will know for sure in like six or seven years if this actually works. Because I only, you know, I don't have any children out of the house, but so far so good. My 14 and 11 year old are, are fairly nutritious eaters when they're out of the house and they, they get on the soapbox with me too. I think it's, to put it very simply, it's a gradual release of power, right? So when you have toddlers, babies, you're in charge of every and morsel that goes in their mouth until they pick up the pebble from the ground.

Katie Kimball (12:45):
And we still try to be in charge right? But the older the children get the more opportunity, like you said, more opportunity. They'll have to eat other things and therefore the more control they need. So we have to figure out how to like slowly, gradually build choice and agency into their day as well as education. So I'm a big proponent of being science geeks and talking about food. At the table talking about why we eat certain things or why maybe we don't eat certain things. I think it's really, really important to build mindfulness in our kids. And that's about eating. And that's something that I've like never ever, ever was taught as a kid. Just to think about like if you eat X, how do you feel? You know, if you eat Y, huh, okay. Okay. You feel and some things maybe give you energy sense.

Katie Kimball (13:34):
Something feels sluggish, some things make you lose emotional control. And you know, there are foods that shouldn't be in your diet if that happens. And so I think it's really important for that not to be like coming down from above, thou shalt not eat this, but let's talk about this. Like, here's why. You know, mom and dad have noticed that this food, maybe it's gluten or dairy, those are our big culprits, right? This food doesn't make you feel good, you know, and, and probably at a certain point outside of celiac, I would almost encourage parents to allow their child to eat the food that doesn't make them feel good. And then say, just listen to your body. I really want you to pay attention. You know, so we need to form that connection between the brain, what the food, the food we're eating and our body's reaction so that kids can notice that.

Katie Kimball (14:16):
And then I use a phrase all the time, I say, listen to your body. It's good to listen to your body. And know when you're full. Know what makes you feel good? Know when you should stop eating. Know when you're hungry. All those things. Yeah, that's really important is, is just helping the children at any age to connect the food with their bodies. And then, and then building in choice. So for example, in our house with desserts, we allow one dessert a day and we just switched this up about a year ago that we allow the kids to eat the dessert at anytime they want. It doesn't have to be after you eat a good meal. Cause I did a great interview with a feeding expert who said, you know, if we always have dessert as the prize at the end of the race, you know, you must eat your vegetables and then you get dessert.

Katie Kimball (15:00):
We're teaching them that that treats are only for celebrating and that broccoli is for is a, you know, thing to get through. I'm like, Oh okay, good point. Yeah, it's really hard. It's still hard in my mind. Like my five year old, he, the others you know, have, have had like already ingrained their habits of like dessert goes after meal. The five year old was like sweet when we changed us. He was four. He's like, I cannot, he had dessert for breakfast for like two months. It was super bizarre. And, but then he would regret it sometimes if we would have ice cream as a family or if we would have, you know, something fun as a family later in the day and then he couldn't participate. So, you know, and so that hurt a little bit, but we had to be consistent and that's, that was part of him learning like how to make his own choices.

Katie Kimball (15:47):
Right. And so you would, whether it's with treats or not, you can build some element of choice into what your kids are doing. And you know, obviously teach them balance and so it kindergarteners probably going to have fewer choices than say a sixth grader by the time my kids are in middle school when it comes to let's say treats or desserts, I usually say, you know, I, I'm going to trust you and I trust you to make your own decisions. Right. Cause again, I have a high school freshman and when he was in like serious middle school, seventh and eighth grade, I knew that he could be sneaking candy from his friends or like he could be eating whatever he wanted all day long and I would never know. And so I, for for me to have that one treat rule on him is just like, I'm going to lose, you know.

Katie Kimball (16:33):
So I sat down and had a conversation with him and I said, listen, like you need to know your body, you need to know what you can handle. And our bodies can filter some junk but not too much. So you know, you make your own decisions. And the only, the only like rule that I'll never lift is just don't lie to mom about food. You know, if I ask you, did you eat such and such, are these candy wrappers in the garbage yours? Like, just don't lie to me as long as we have open communication, you know, I have to, and sometimes that means they fail. That means they eat something they shouldn't, but it's better for them to fail. So in my house we can talk about it then like be the college student who's eating like bowls of Skittles for breakfast, you know, because he never had Skittles in his life or whatever it may be.

Katie Kimball (17:15):
So there's this gradual release of control with teaching mindfulness and educating about how food fuels our bodies. I think that's, I hope that's the secret sauce. I hope that's the recipe for success. I'm like, that's all right. I won't know exactly, but most of the time my older two kids make pretty good choice. The girl more than the boy.

Tara Hunkin (17:37):
Well I mean, and like you said, you, we've, we've talked about this already too, is that that at some point they are going to have to make their own choices. So we do have to just educate them as best we can. I do love the rule that you have about round just

Tara Hunkin (17:50):
Saying, you know, like it's, it's like a lot of things that we want our kids to be able to talk to us about. That there's no, there's no consequences other than the conflict consequences obviously to your health. If you've at a certain age, if you've gone outside the boundaries of what we've agreed upon so that you keep that open communication because it is really important. I, I find especially in my household too, cause I, I have one child that, that that's, you know, much more compliant than the other one. Now that she has a latitude. And if you don't know when something's going wrong and we're asking them to listen to their bodies and, and what they're wondering why they're having challenges of a certain one kind or another. If we can't have an open conversation about, well, what might meet, could it be the food that you've been exposed to and the recent past?

Tara Hunkin (18:42):
And if you can't have that conversation open and honestly you're not gonna be able to figure out what might be causing the problem and you can just spin your wheels a lot. And for them it's really frustrating too. So it does I love what you're doing in terms of fostering that open communication and the consequences, like I said, are only the consequences to their own health and their from their own choices. So I think it's real. It is very, very important to do that. One thing you often say is that cooking is so much more than just kitchen work. So how do you think that learning to cook can impact kids in other ways?

Katie Kimball (19:24):
Yeah, it's so easy to look at the kitchen. Like, it's just connected to food. Okay, fine. Katie. I will teach my kids to cook so that they eat healthier and can sustain themselves as adults, fine, whatever. But I feel like that would be like saying reading only belongs in reading class. Like, Oh, you'll never use reading outside of reading class. Well, wait a minute. No. Like actually reading applies to like literally everything that you do and could ever learn. And I feel like a lot of the personality traits and qualities that we want to raise up in our kids can really happen in the kitchen. Meaning that when you're working together with your kids, that's when they're going to get your sense of sense of humor or your sense of being a good friend, your sense of being open and sharing with each other. And so it's this amazing opportunity to connect as family members because you're working together for a common goal.

Katie Kimball (20:13):
Right? There's nothing that brings people together more than that effort and that working for a common goal. I think you know, it's important to many people to build generosity in kids, to build kids who are willing to serve others. And again, like you don't have to tell a child that they've done a good job when you create an opportunity for them to serve others. Food sustenance is something that people need to survive three times a day. And that also I see as this huge opportunity for self esteem and confidence. We've, we've worked so hard in the last couple of decades to self esteem and I use air quotes on that only because I think our efforts are well intentioned but errant because we've built self esteem by like sticking their papers to the fridge and saying good job about everything and giving participation trophies and medals and we've gone so far like we've pushed it so far to just thinking that everything a child does is amazing.

Katie Kimball (21:09):
That the children know that nothing we say matters right. When we tell them how amazing they are. So they need to feel that experience of being able to do something right, to serve someone food, to nourish someone else's body or to nourish their own body and fulfill that basic need. No one has to say good job, right? So there's this amazing sense of self esteem and confidence. And I see that competence like in our own family, it spills out into other areas of life. It's not just in the kitchen, it's not just food. But when you know that you're, especially for younger children like, or like middle-sized kids, I guess when you know that you're doing stuff like cooking a whole meal for your family that most of the other kids in your class aren't doing, do you feel like hot stuff? And like my daughter last year in fifth grade she's very shy, very reserved, very quiet.

Katie Kimball (21:59):
As she ran for class officer, I thought this is very surprising, but she wrote her little speech and it talked about babysitting her little brothers and making dinner for her family. And I'm like, Oh huh. That's exactly what I hoped would happen. But it was still like a really nice surprise. And then the last thing is creativity. You know, we have, we live in this digital age where we're, we're not doing enough with our hands and we're not doing enough. That's like really creative work. And so the kitchen is both, you know, you're literally working with your hands or you know, we don't want to do a lot of woodworking and sewing as much anymore. So it's important for kids to be able to create things with their hands, but also infuse the actual like creativity. Like, Oh, well here's what the recipe says. What if I tweak this ingredient? Now they're taking, you know, again, some ownership and infusing that creativity. So I just see the kitchen as sort of the epicenter that can overflow good qualities like connection, competence and creativity onto all areas of life. It's, it's not just about food.

Tara Hunkin (22:59):
Yeah. Well, and that's, that's it is, it is amazing. All the different things that you can cover off just in, in one experience. And you know, as you're talking, I'm thinking about the things that a lot of the parents that are listening to this will find too with their kids is that it's almost I always like to find things we can do with our kids that are therapy. And I say that in air quotes as well, but aren't therapy. So it's very therapeutic in terms of working on their fine motor skills when we're, doing lots of chopping and I know that will alarm parents, but Katie does a fabulous job of teaching kids knife skills. You know, most adults don't have, I watch other adults chop things and I'm just like waiting to call the ambulance. You know, so I find that frightening. But so learning to do that, but also the textures and learning, you know, that sensory input for kids is incredibly important. The smells, the tastes. And then also, you know, obviously the, the creativity of seeing how, you know, in baking it's like chemistry and the science of that as well as in cooking the artistry really because you can, you can create all, all different types of things. So Mmm. It is amazing how sometimes we turn what, what would be a chore to a lot of people. You can just turn it into a whole different type of experience for the kids.

Katie Kimball (24:17):
And it's fun and that's kind of my, my best tip for parents is if you're feeling that stress and that time pressure we talked about kids are always asking to help right before dinner and you're like, dude, I literally have seventeen minutes and if I do not get this dinner on the table, somebody is missing an event, right? Soccer, whatever. And so I say it's it, make it an event, make cooking the event, do it after school when the kids have had their snack Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, like sometime where you have like the balloon of time available to you and then it won't be stressful, then it can be fun and you can explore. And the bonus for parents is that once you've invested a little bit of time making, cooking a family experience and an event, the kids are building their skills and then when they asked to help, you're like, Oh, you actually have the skills to help come on in. And they speed up dinner preparation. So don't teach new skills before dinner, teach new skills outside and then those skills become not so new and they can be helpful.

Tara Hunkin (25:16):
That actually you answered a question that was going on in my mind, which is that one of the reasons we often don't, kids are always asking to help in the kitchen. And that's exactly the reason we always push them away. We're like, Nope, we've got to get this done fast. So and they are messy when they learned to cook in the beginning. Do you have any, do you have any quick tips around the mess and the management of the mess? When you, you first have the kids enter the kitchen?

Katie Kimball (25:44):
I wish my kids are still really messy cooking, but I am too. Like if I'm cooking up a storm, I leave the kitchen and I'm like, Oh good Lord, I hope there's a fairy somewhere to do my dishes, you know? So it definitely, I feel like it's like your own, if you're a parent who cleans up well as you go, you can easily impart those skills to your children. If you're not, then it's all about just psychologically getting over yourself and getting out of your way. Right? Like we just have to convince ourselves like, this is worth it. The mess is temporary. I can deal with it. I can teach them to clean up, you know, and press forward in spite of messiness.

Tara Hunkin (26:24):
Baby-Steps yeah, sure. So in terms of do you have some tips to supercharge dinner time and making use of those, you know, you talk about those time pressures around dinner, dinner, it seems to be the biggest one breakfast I'd say and dinner. But what's some of tips you have to help us make use of, of that time properly?

Katie Kimball (26:48):
Yeah. You know, and I'm going to just pull this back away from food again because I think if you, man, if you can make time for family dinners, they are so powerful and so you might as well supercharge every moment. And so just a couple like really quick tips that don't take any time. One is to do some deep breaths before dinner with your kids. And I'm so glad I do interviews because I always get out of that habit. So I'm like, tonight you've got to do this again. And, and as you know, that's very important for digestion and it only takes like 30 seconds. So, so why not like teach our kids that really good habit of breathing in like a four or six breath is great in for four counts and out for six. Mmm, and then giving some form of gratitude, right?

Katie Kimball (27:31):
Like prayerful families can make sure that their prayer is part of it. But otherwise, like brain science says that if you're actually feeling gratitude in your body, you're getting yourself into more of a parasympathetic state, which is great for digestion. And so then, and I like to have little prompts at dinnertime too. So we've been doing one the past year, we call the three L's. So conversation-wise you say, when did you laugh today? What did you learn and how did you love someone else? Yeah. And it's a little different than just like, how was school? What did you do today? You know, it's real. And you know, laughter is so good for a family to share together. So half the time, if someone says, you know, when did you laugh? Well, what did, what did you laugh about? Then they say it and everyone's laughing.

Katie Kimball (28:13):
And so there's just a way to like bring the family together and, and have kind of that platform. Plus I think when like I've heard some of my kids say like, Ooh, that'll be my learn for dinner. So they're thinking about their own learning. You know, which is really good. And then they're thinking about their own service too. Like I'm, I might be asked like, how did I love someone today? I better open a door for somebody and eventually, you know, that's it. That's the habits I want to build in my kids, that they're generous and giving to others

Tara Hunkin (28:43):
That that's amazing. I love all of those things. And you're right, because as we just ask those questions how is school? It's usually, or what did you do at school for most kids and most parents cause their response, nothing, which is really isn't confidence instilling

Katie Kimball (28:59):
And I'll tease them if they say nothing too. What did you learn? I'll be like, my goodness, I need to call your principal. Your teacher should be fired. You know, they had you for six hours. And I mean, I make sure that I'm smiling. Obviously you learned nothing the whole day. So, and we make adults answer that too because learning's not all academics, right? Like if you didn't learn anything academically, you better think of some life lessons.

Tara Hunkin (29:21):
Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Sadly we, I think I get one every day. So it's opportunities to improve, right. On a daily basis.

Katie Kimball (29:31):
Right, exactly.

Tara Hunkin (29:33):
So before we wrap up, I really would love for you to tell parents about your kids cook real food eCourse. I think it's, it's such a great way, especially for the parents that are out there that don't feel that they're great at cooking or they don't really know or understand how to cook or use a knife. Like I was just talking about those outside now that are out there chopping things both inefficiently and very dangerously. So I'd love for you to tell everybody about what the course is all about and and how you created it to really serve kids.

Katie Kimball (30:07):
Yeah. My mission is to like make a roadmap for busy moms, busy families who just don't really know where to start. So as a, as a teacher myself, I thought about what's developmentally appropriate for different ages and how can we like sort of build one skill on a next so that the skills you learned earlier loop back in. So like all of the thinking is done for you that's my promise. Like you don't have to think which is an amazing gift for a parent, right? You do not have to think. And I set that up into three levels. Yeah. So we've got our preschoolers and sort of our early elementary like once they can read and then our advanced kids are ages eight and up. And with our preschoolers, we do a lot of that fine motor skill work. That's the same academic skills they need in preschool to hold a pencil and to cut and all that stuff.

Katie Kimball (30:52):
And the goal with our, with our little ones is just to really have a positive experience and to, to connect with the parents and to give parents a way to be able to say, yes, you know, your three year old says, can I help? And it's so easy to say, no, not right now. This is mommy's space. And so I want it to be much easier for you to say yes, you've learned your measuring skills and mommy needs, you know, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper for this meal. Like it doesn't have to be fancy, right. You set your preschooler up at the table with those ingredients and, and help them, like we have special ways for little kids to name rename the spoons so that they don't have to read. They don't have to know. And it could, maybe it'll take your three year old, 10 minutes to correctly measure the salt, the pepper and the Italian seasoning, but you're still in the kitchen doing your work.

Katie Kimball (31:38):
So that's, that's kind of the magic of what we do is we empower kids to be able to do even small jobs on their own at really young ages. We do get the sharp knives in the hands of our intermediate kids. So starting about six or seven years old, you know, we're using a sharp knife, but it's the right size of the knife for the size of the child and the right food. And that's, that's an equation that you can't really mess with. You don't, you don't do a big Apple with a paring knife, you know what I mean? It's just things that like, again, I've done the thinking for you. Parents don't have to, and we get those early readers also to the stove. And their goal is really to be able to follow the whole recipe completely by themselves. So the confidence is just exploding at that age.

Katie Kimball (32:18):
You know, it's the age they're learning to read and write very proficiently. Like if you think about if you have a child who's past third grade, like they're reading and writing from first through third grade immense increase. Right. And what they can do it same can happen in the kitchen. We can, we can raise that bar and expect a lot out of them. And then once they understand the stove following well and the sharp knives, we upped the ante to the chef's knife and you know, balancing multiple dishes in a recipe and really being able to make the whole meal by the time kids graduate. That's the goal is that kids who graduate our course can make any recipe they come across with, with confidence. And eight of the 32 videos are knife skills because that's so important. If you're, if you're eating whole foods, you have to be able to cut to them up or pay someone else to cut them for you.

Katie Kimball (33:06):
You know, it's, it's an, it's an expense. It's a trade off. And it's really allergy friendly. I know you have a lot of gluten and dairy free people and listeners out there. So that's, I, I come from a place of understanding these, that these allergies are really a part of our lives now and I want all kids to be able to access cooking. So it's, it's safe even for celiacs cause it's your kitchen. Yeah. Right. It's your food. And so we, we use a couple of like dairy and gluten a couple of times, but there's always adaptations and substitutions. So my goal is to teach the skill. So if the skill is rolling, Joe, well we might demonstrate with whole wheat dough, but then we have a number of recipes that are gluten free or grain free. You still get the same skill, your family's favorite recipe. Right. So it's very flexible and adaptable like that.

Tara Hunkin (33:50):
Yeah. Well, and that's what's brilliant about it is because we do have so many of these kids our kids are, have a number of different allergies or intolerances that we're trying to, or sensitivities we're trying to avoid, which means that they can't always get their favorite foods in a store setting. Even if we could get them in a whole food type setting. So learning to cook empowers them to continue to do, to eat the way that they need to eat, to be healthy beyond their mother's kitchen. So or their father depending on who's doing the cooking. Cause I know families where it's mostly the dad. So I don't wanna I don't want to jump jump the gun on that one. But it, it is it is an incredible skill to give them actually it's a real gift to give to them to be able to do this. And, and like you said, the how proud they are when they do it. Is, is pretty amazing. I know my younger daughter rolled out of bed extra early this morning because she really wanted to have pancakes on a weekday, which would not normally happen, but she rolled out of bed to make her grain-free gluten free pancakes, dairy free, the whole free, free.

Katie Kimball (35:03):
Yes. Visible as my mother in law would say. Nothing left, nothing left!

Tara Hunkin (35:10):
But, she really desperately wanted pancakes this morning. So that's what she did. So they made them for her sister, you know, and cleaned up and, and off they went to school. So it, once they do know how to cook they, they really do start to take more charge. I probably should let them in the kitchen more often, but I have that mess issue that I still have to work on, on my own.

Tara Hunkin (35:33):
That's a me thing. They don't mind the mess at all!

Katie Kimball (35:37):
No, no, they don't. It's tough. But I mean, I love that story. So she was empowered to take care of herself. She was generous and serving her sister. That's so beautiful. And sticking with the allergies. Yeah. My daughter's been dairy free for about a year and it's been really tough and I'm not sure if we would have survived it if she didn't have the capacity and the ability to come home sometimes and say I'm so tired of apples and peanut butter. So tired of these same old snacks and to find a recipe on Pinterest and make it yeah. For herself, dairy free and spend. It's been great that she can do that.

Tara Hunkin (36:11):
Yeah, no, it makes a huge, huge difference. And and like you said, it's, it's amazing now there's so many recipes out there. So the, the, the food or the ability to eat these foods is out there for free on the internet. There are also some fabulous cookbooks, which I'm a collector of by cause it's just so much fun to pull them off the shelves and flip through them. And, and actually, and it's funny, I should, I should have brought one of the ones, one of the ones that my daughter is that she, she tags all the recipe she wants.

Tara Hunkin (36:43):
So it's a, you know, it is great to have that. And so, so all that's there and, and, and ready for the taking, if they can just learn some of these skills to get it done in the kitchen themselves when they feel like it. So so if, when we don't have time to do it for them, they can do it for themselves. So I think that is amazing. That's why I was, I was so happy to have you here with us today to talk to people. Cause I know what a great job you do this. And to take the thinking out of it for parents is enormous because the last thing any of us need in our lives is something else to figure out. That's not our, it's not our thing. And it makes it so great that you have this system and for, for kids to successfully go through. And as you say, graduate the course, somebody become proficient in the kitchen by, by what a, like what, like what age do you think that they can graduate from that program typically?

Katie Kimball (37:41):
You know so my, my kids have about between eight and 10 have done the chef's knife skills. And so, and you know, I get to see kids pictures. I get to see member families sharing pictures in our Facebook group. And I, I've seen kids as young as like even seven and eight tackling a whole meal. I know I love the instant pot and the slow cooker because there's, you know, there's a little less of like fear of fire. And plus we actually have a whole like mini course called the thematic skill lab about how to use the Instapot. And so cooker, even if you don't have your knife skills cause you can use dried onion and dried garlic and still like generally compile all those recipes and make the entire dinner at age six or seven. It's incredible.

Tara Hunkin (38:27):
That is amazing cause the Instapot is a staple in our kitchen. I have a have a great chefs stove and oven and everything else.

Tara Hunkin (38:35):
But the thing that gets used the most right now is the instapot. It's like, it's like a piece of heaven that thing.

Katie Kimball (38:43):
Yeah. I did a cool interview with a seven year old from Canada who was so proud of himself. He made his dad instant pot lasagna for his birthday. Like completely by himself. I'm like, Oh it was so, he was just so cute.

Tara Hunkin (38:55):
That's adorable. Well thank you so much for coming on today and sharing this. Where can people find obviously your blog as well as the course.

Katie Kimball (39:07):
Sure. So kidscookrealfood.com is the course. And if enrollment's closed, there's always like something free to, to help move you along. So I'm always there to support parents and kitchen stewardship.com is the blog and that's where like the families can dig into the adults, dig into recipes and research and all that stuff. And we're on Facebook and Instagram as well.

Tara Hunkin (39:28):
Wonderful. And I'll make sure that put links to everything below too, if you're looking at this on your phone or on your computer at home so that you can get there very quickly. Thanks again, Katie for joining me today and I look forward to talking to you again in the future.

Katie Kimball (39:43):
Absolutely. My pleasure.

Tara Hunkin (39:45):

Tara Hunkin (39:48):
That's a wrap. Thanks for joining me this week on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast. Today's episode is sponsored by the My Child Essentials Membership Box, a quarterly subscription box curated by me to give you the tools you need to help your child thrive too. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you can spare a moment to give us a review, we'd love the feedback. Thanks for joining me today. This is Tara Hunkin and I'll catch you on the next podcast or over at mychildwillthrive.com.

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