Cook's passion for creating healthy eating habits shines through
When you talk to cook Carmit Zur about her job cooking for 123 children at Goodstart Double Bay, her passion immediately shines through.
While preparing food for that many children day in, day out, may sound like a big ask for many of us, it’s something that Ms Zur absolutely loves.
And since joining the team and working with her two centre directors Grace A’Hearn and Laura Hughes, she’s made a huge difference to the food her children are eating.
“Since I started I’ve worked really hard changing the menu here and in the past six months we have really committed to changing the way the children eat. I really love sharing my passion for healthy eating for children,” Ms Zur said.
“We’ve introduced an all wholemeal, clean eating menu with lots of vegetables and no sugar, and because I have the support of my two centre directors, I’ve really used the freedom to express my creativity.”
Dishes on the menu include sweet chicken curry with onions, tomatoes, carrots, peas and bean with wholemeal couscous, and grilled fish with red quinoa and brown rice with steamed vegetables. She also bakes healthy sweet treats such as carrot slice – without the sugar.
While she admits it hasn’t always been easy getting children to try new foods, her methods appear to be working. Cutting carrots into flower shapes, and talking to children about the flavours, colours and textures of new foods are all part of her plan.
Ms Zur has worked as a chef since 2002 including at her own catering company at Bondi Beach.
“I think the key to my success here is in being persistent and if a child says they don’t want something, try it again the next day,” Ms Zur said.
Ms Zur likes to choose as many varieties of seasonal vegetables as she can and uses a large platter with different compartments to present the food.
“I get a lot of feedback from parents who can’t believe the children are eating the vegetables. But I think by offering them something unusual such as pomegranate, blueberries or dragon fruit, they are always looking forward to meal times.”
Tips for parents feeding children vegetables:
If you're a cook passionate about food at your centre, make sure you join the Yammer page Cooks Yammering Together, and share your ideas and recipes.
- We all know many children don't like vegetables but instead of trying to force them to eat things they don’t want, encourage them to try a tiny taste individually and encourage them to try new foods.
- Talk to your child about the importance of vegetables, and about their nutritional value.
- Use the vegetables your children do enjoy rather than making them eat the ones they don’t.
- Make vegetables an easily accessible snack in the fridge – carrots, broccoli, celery and beans are all good options.
- Serve vegetables and salad at every meal so children get used to seeing them on their plates.
- Grate vegetables in to bolognaise sauces, and add them wherever you can.
- Let your children choose their favourite vegetables at the supermarket, and encourage them to be involved in the cooking process.