Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties, Inc.

Junior League focuses on Kids in the Kitchen

By Nicki Anderson For The Sun
3 April 2013

Obesity continues to permeate the lives of more than a third of U.S. adults and children. Many are doing their part to combat it in a way that is educational and practical, including the Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties.

The group will host a family event, Kids in the Kitchen between noon and 3 p.m. April 20 at Whole Foods Naperville.

“The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. Kids in the Kitchen initiative began in 2006 with the goal of engaging kids in the preparation of healthy meals as a means to educate them and their parents about nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices,” said Jessica Salasek, vice president of communications for Junior League of Kane and DuPage County.

The Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties Inc. is one of more than 200 leagues providing lessons and demonstrations related to preparation of healthy meals and snacks in partnership with local community organizations, chefs and nutritionists. One of those partnerships includes Whole Foods in Naperville.

Whole Foods will host the Kids in the Kitchen event that aspires to teach parents and their children how to eat well and have fun, too. Deb Kwiatt, marketing and community relations specialist at Whole Foods Naperville, is excited about the event given that it ties so closely with their mission of food education.

“One of our core values is healthy food education, so we thought it was a perfect fit,” she said. “Our healthy eating specialist, Angela Dennison, worked along with our marketing department and the JLKD to put together an event that aims to inspire kids to have fun with healthy foods.”

This is cooking up to be a fantastic family event.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Salasek said. “We’ll offer snacks, activities and cooking! Kids will be given a chef hat they will decorate and wear as they work their way through a scavenger hunt throughout the Whole Foods store.

They will have the chance to sample different foods, make something with other food educators.

In addition to food education, The Fry YMCA of Naperville will be holding a light fitness activity geared toward kids.”

Other food educators include Two Mother’s Café and local food blogger Momma Cuisine who will both offer cooking demonstrations at 1 p.m.

“Kids will learn how to make Rainbow Carrots and Edamame Fried Rice with Watermelon Fizz for a drink,” Kwiatt said.

“Best of all, this event is completely free and no sign up is necessary. However, seating is on a first-come basis for food demos, so I encourage planning for that.”

The goal of the event is to inspire kids to not only think about making healthier food choices but encouraging families to make it a group effort.

It’s always been my belief that, if kids can learn that healthy food is not only good for you but tastes good, too, they will be more likely to make healthier food choices throughout their life.

“We hope kids will enjoy tasting healthy foods while having fun at the same time,” Kwiatt said.

“When each child brings their chef hat home, they’ll be encouraged to cook with their parents and be a part of the process. It’s about making a child a part of their own food choices and leading them in a healthy and engaging way. Basically, we just want kids to have a little food fun.”