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Fussy eaters? Get them in the kitchen!

With this recent spate of hot weather, it seems we’re all turning into fussier eaters. Long gone is the wish for warm and comforting meals to keep our energy up in the cold, all you want is something to cool you down. But you can’t just feed kids ice lollies, and put a plate of salad or a bowl of gazpacho in front of them, many won’t even pick up their cutlery.

New food is a scary thing. We don’t know what it is going to taste like, what its texture will be, will there be an aftertaste? It’s not surprising that kids are loathed to try new food when you think about the sensory overload they’ll receive, top that off with the possibility of it tasting bad and that’s it. Noses turned up, arms crossed and a refusal to even try it.

My advice? Get them in the kitchen. Kids are great at breaking eggs, rubbing butter into flour, mashing avocados and loads more. They are so much more likely to try something they have made than something that is just put in front of them. Not only do they want to show off their creation but half of that sensory overload has already gone. They’ve felt the food, smelt it and seen it transform from raw ingredients to a meal.

At Charley's Little Kitchen workshops and classes we make the kids promise that they’ll at least try everything and the success of this showed during a recent Mexican cooking workshop. We started the day making guacamole with five girls that DO NOT LIKE AVOCADO. After mashing, chopping and mixing all the girls tried it with a squeal of ‘but I actually like this!

The summer is great time to start introducing kids to cooking as there are so many no-cook options. Hummus, guacamole and tzatziki are a great way to show kids how they can transform things with just a little of this and little of that, and who doesn’t like something to smear on pitta or dip carrots into? Or you could try your hand at making some homemade buns to go with your barbecue. We’ve got a great recipe on the website that’s super easy.

Cooking with your kids is not only a great way of spending time together and getting them to try new things, but it also complements formal learning incredibly well. Following a recipe, measuring out ingredients and using their hands enhance literacy, mathematical abilities and fine-motor skills. Cooking is also a fantastic way to build confidence and social skills. What could be better than making something out of nothing and then sitting down together to eat it. But of course, if you don't like the mess you can send them to Charley’s Little Kitchen and we’ll clear up!

We’ve got four ALL DAY workshops this August in Hove making food from all over the world. Kid's will make their own lunch, afternoon snack and go home with at least one creation plus a recipe book packed full of activities, recipes and things to try at home.


And if that’s not enough, we’ve got weekly classes in September!

2.15 – 3.15 is our Parents and Preschool class. We’ll get messy (and clear it up for you) and learning about new ingredients every week.

3.40 – 5.30 is our After School Grub Club. We’ll make amazing meals from scratch using different ingredients and techniques.

With all of our classes and workshops you don’t need to bring anything with you as we’ll provide everything you need.

Visit Charley's Kitchen and get the kids in the kitchen this summer!

Charley Cole

- Charley Cole

Charley has over 10 years experience working with children and food. She has travelled the world picking up culinary tips and now runs Charley's Little Kitchen in Hove.

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