Can a single cooking class save lunch? A picky family takes on the mealtime dilemma — and lives to tell the tale. 

Getting three kids out the door for an 8 am school start is no easy feat. For us, the biggest time suck is having the kids find their shoes — and then having them remember that they are actually supposed to be putting those shoes on (I give up). But lunch making is a close second. Now that I have three kids in elementary school, all of whom have wildly different eating habits, the pressure is really on.   

But maybe that pressure doesn’t all have to be on me. Maybe the kids can help. When I saw that Northwest Nibbles, a mom-owned business hosting cooking classes for kids, was offering a lunch-making class, I was in. We all were.  

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Northwest Nibbles travels to various locations for their drop-in cooking classes. The class we took was at the adorable children’s resale store Beanstalk, in southeast’s Montavilla neighborhood. (And it cost $15 per kid.) The store has a room to the side that was the perfect size for hosting 10 junior chefs. On the menu: vegetarian or turkey wraps, fruit and veggies, and healthy snacks.  

The class began with a short introduction by Jocelyn, the owner and a very pregnant mama. (She will not be offering classes until early spring in order to spend time with the family’s new addition, but watch the website for new offerings and camps.) She walked us through how to make a wrap, and gave a few options for combinations that she had tried and enjoyed. Then the kids got to it.  

Because there is a word count here, I will not go into the various things that my children will not eat. However, the beauty of this class was that everyone — even my pickiest eater — was able to assemble a wrap that was healthy, fun to make and tasty. Grady, my vegetarian, eschewed turkey for a hummus wrap with lots of veggies and cheese. Clara, my child who basically only eats things that are white, was very content to assemble a spinach wrap (spinach!) with carrots (carrots!), cheese and olives. And Teddy. Well, he basically put it all in there. We needed a second wrap on the outside to contain it all. 

Once rolled, the grown-ups helped cut up the wraps like sushi rolls, then the kids arranged the sandwich slices artfully in a bento-style box. The box was rounded out with carrots, peas, tomatoes, crackers and a small treat, all chosen by the kiddos. 

When my daughter said, “I can’t wait to eat this” (about spinach! and carrots!), I could have hugged Jocelyn. And do you know what? She actually did eat it. And liked it! 

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I’m now a believer that when kids make things themselves, they are more likely to get enjoyment out of them. Part of it is because they only choose the things they want to eat, but part of it, too, is the satisfaction of creating your own meal. The 45-minute class left them feeling confident in their lunch-making skills and excited to try them out at home. Maybe this will make the mornings a little calmer. Maybe it won’t. But if it gets them excited about cooking and eating things that grow out of the ground, I’m all for it. And if it means I don’t have to make the lunch? Just think of all the time that leaves to find those shoes.  

Find out when classes will start up again at northwestnibbles.com. 

Ali Wilkinson
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