|This child is happy because she is eating kale for dinner tonight|
Tots, pre-school teachers, and parents alike love to cook together. Cooking teaches math and science concepts. It develops fine motor skills and the art of patience and taking turns. And, of course, there is great joy in sharing and enjoying the finished products.
So we have a great number of American tots who are gloriously skilled at mixing, pouring, and beating cookie, muffin, and bread batter.
But what about "real" food prep?
As the obesity crisis looms over a generation of young children is it not our duty to begin exposing our children to food preparation that extends beyond bakery items? Surely good eating habits begin with exposure to good foods, and handling and cooking these foods is one of the first steps toward eating them.
With this idea in mind, I was on the prowl to find a tot friendly, healthy dish to make with my 4 and 6-year-old children. Fortunately, I did not have to look far, as my dear friend Ann Lim, who is also a chef, told me her kids devour kale chips.
And so, thanks to Ann, a healthy cooking activity was born. My kids love to make and eat kale chips. You must try this recipe, my dear reader, because there is no better feeling than watching your children jump up and down with joy because they are going to be able to eat an entire bunch of kale for dinner. Enjoy:
- Pre-heat oven to 325F
- Wash and dry kale leaves (kids love to bang the leaves around to get the water off)
- Supply each child with a small bowl of olive oil and a basting brush
- Brush leaves with oil
- Using kitchen shears, cut leaves into bite size pieces, removing center ribs
- Sprinkle with sea salt
- Bake for 12-15 minutes (Hint: leaves will look a little brown. The crispier the leaves, the better they taste).