"Kids love smoothies, but then they find out they're green smoothies and they get a little worried about it. But even with a group of 20 if two kids try it and smile, there's positive peer pressure in there. They really take it away and are willing to give it a try and realize vegetable and health really isn't so bad and vegetable and health isn't so bad and it's actually a fun time too."
Children got "Veggiecated" with a free cooking class at the Greenwich YMCA Thursday afternoon.
Organizers say it's the first time the Greenwich YMCA will host free kids cooking classes with Veggiecation, a nutrition education program that introduces children to the world of vegetables.
"With Veggiecation, our classes, everything is classroom demo style," said Executive Program Director Maxon Keating. "So it's limited ingredients, limited equipment. So you don't need a kitchen and everything is nice and affordable so we try to keep it to about 5 ingredients maximum so you actually know what you're tasting."
With ingredients donated from Whole Foods, children were able to taste, touch and learn how to make vegetable stir fry and smoothies. Parents tell us they'll be taking some recipes to their own kitchens.
"It never occurred to me to use raw spinach and strawberries," said Greenwich resident Janet Murphey. "You don't even taste the spinach it's so well disguised. And the sautéed vegetables with teriyaki sauce, that was delicious. I've never cooked with ginger before, so I'm interested in trying that."
The program's executive director says it's important for children to use all their sense when trying new foods.
"It's hard when it's just presented to someone," said Keating. "Utilize their sight, have them observe what they're working with. Take a sweet potato and ask them, what do you think this looks like on the inside, cut it open."
The YMCA will offer the cooking classes every 4th Thursday of the month from 4 p.m. to 5 pm.