Samantha Barnes, Former Teacher, Mom of Two and Founder of Raddish, Shares Tips for Getting Kids in the Kitchen

Samantha Barnes is the founder of Raddish, a monthly subscription box to provide kid-friendly recipes that “mix in education, family time, and fun.” Raddish evolved from Kitchen Kid, which brought educational programming through cooking to families via summer camps, after-school classes, parties, and in-home lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area. Prior to Raddish and Kitchen Kid, Samantha was a middle school teacher. With this monthly subscription box, Samantha applies her combined experience as a teacher and parent.

Similar in mission to The Kids Cook Monday, Raddish believes that “kids who cook, eat” and that “cooking is the foundation for a healthy, wholesome life.”

We spoke with Samantha about getting kids to try new foods, using Monday as a reset and the importance of getting kids and families cooking and eating together each week.

Check out Raddish’s recipe for a “Yummy Mummy Quesadilla,” a fun Halloween-themed snack that parents and children can make together!

Why do you think it’s important for children to be involved in cooking and preparing food?

There are endless benefits from getting kids in the kitchen! For starters, we really believe that kids who cook, eat. They are much more likely to try – and enjoy – food they’ve helped prepare – even broccoli! We also believe cooking is fun and integral to childhood. And there’s no better place to learn than in the kitchen – math, science, geography, history are naturally cultivated when kids are mixing and measuring.

How do you think using Monday as a “reset” and starting each week cooking and eating a meal together can be beneficial for families?

Mondays can be chaotic! But if you use Monday as an anchor for your week, by incorporating family time and connection at the dinner table, it paves the way for a balanced week ahead.

What is your approach to picky eaters to make sure they are eating nutritious meals?

I never like to call kids “picky eaters.” It gives them a label parents inadvertently cater toward.

A few of my favorite strategies:

1) Serve meals family style, allowing kids to have choice and autonomy in what goes on their plate (making sure to give each dish a “hello bite”)

2) You are not a restaurant – make the same meal for your whole family

3) Educate your kids and give narrative to the ingredients – Why is cereal crammed with sugar not a good choice before school? Why are sweet potatoes good for your body and brain? What is the history of quinoa and how is corn farmed?

What advice do you have for parents who say they just can’t find the time to cook with their kids?

Kids often enjoy the jobs you don’t: busy things, like drying lettuce and trimming green beans. Kids don’t have to be part of the entire cooking process from beginning to end. They are happy to come help whisk a marinade or toss a salad. They can actually help get dinner on the table.

What are some tips you have for families during the busy back-to-school season to start each week cooking and eating meals together?

Make it fun! Listen to music that matches the meal, ask fun questions, try a new ingredient each week, play “restaurant.” Cooking and eating should be filled with joy – find ways your whole family can enjoy the experience.