Chefs Value Healthy Kids in 2011

In the Fire

While most parents would agree it's important to feed kids healthy food, many find it hard to stick to this goal in the face of time constraints, stress and limited choices. Fast food is easy and makes most kids happy (and quiet). Let's face it, if left to their own devices, many kids often gravitate toward sweet, salty, and fried foods. Fortunately, there are tangible signs that the culinary arts world is starting to focus on children's nutrition.

Culinary Arts

A trend of healthy cooking for kids

Since her inauguration as First Lady in 2008, Michelle Obama has fought childhood obesity through successful programs like "Chefs Move to Schools" that have attracted the commitment of chefs across the country. And when the National Restaurant Association released its What's Hot in 2011 survey, many parents were relieved to learn that restaurant chefs in 2010 predicted children's nutrition will be one of the top 20 trends this year. As if to prove it, the Food Network's hit show Secrets of a Restaurant Chef aired an episode hosted by top chef Anne Burrell called "The Secret to a Healthy Children's Menu," showcasing healthy takes on traditional kids' recipes like dijon, saltine and wheat germ crusted chicken fingers with ranch dipping sauce.

Ideas for chefs and parents

Recognizing the need to educate chefs and parents about children's nutrition, Livestrong.com, the website representing the Livestrong Foundation (created by super athlete Lance Armstrong), offers advice about what to put on kids' menus. In addition to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein options, it also suggests cutting out soda with its high sugar and sodium levels in favor of milk, water and 100% juice.

Other ideas from Livestrong.com include offering grilled rather than fried fish and chicken, and veggies and fruits as side dishes in addition to the usual fries. Lastly, it suggests that chefs forgo putting sugary syrups and high fat ingredients in smoothies, a popular choice among children, and offers ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Regardless of what restaurants offer, it may be hard for kids who are used to eating sugary, salty and fried foods to adjust to healthier choices, as taste bud preferences tend to develop in the first few years of life. But with enough repetition (and hunger!) kids can definitely make the change if parents are willing to stick to restaurants that are committed to offering healthy food.

Advice for parents seeking healthy restaurant food

Parents looking for eating establishments with healthy kids menus can turn to agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both offer suggestions for restaurants with the healthiest choices, and how to navigate fast food menus to find the best options for kids.

Parents can also steer their kids in the right direction by eating well themselves and by encouraging kids to help with planning, shopping for and cooking meals at home. Children imitate their parents, and become more invested in what they're eating when they're part of the process. The bottom line is that kids are more likely to make healthy choices at restaurants if they're eating well at home.

Chefs expand their education at culinary school

Chefs that want to offer healthier foods can learn more by taking some traditional or online culinary classes. Natural foods, nutrition, menu planning and pricing are some of the subjects taught by culinary schools to help more chefs get on board with this vital and growing trend.

About the Author:

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
            • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104