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February 14, 1997 - Issue Index

New book helps parents cook for kids
By David Pesci (February 14, 1997)

Tired of trying to get your kids to eat broccoli, carrots or anything nutritious? Try giving them Porcupines, Ham Mountains and Flying Saucers.

Sound like prepackaged nonsense? Actually it's good food -- and good for them.

These dishes are just a few of those listed in a new cookbook, Connecticut Cooks for Kids, created by two faculty members in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and a nutrition education coordinator from the State Department of Education. The cookbook was put together to provide the state's day care centers with easy, nutritious recipes. But the authors say it's also great for families.

"The recipes are easy to make and there's a lot of variety," said Ellen L. Shanley, lecturer in nutritional sciences and a co-author of the book. "We've also provided a per-serving nutrient analysis for each recipe so cooks can see the breakdown on such things as calories and grams of fat for each serving."

Connecticut Cooks for Kids is the result of more than two years of work. Shanley and her co-editors, Colleen A. Thompson, extension educator in residence, and Susan S. Fiore, a program manager in the State Department of Education, solicited recipes from licensed day care centers and family day care homes. In exchange, the participants received a free copy of the finished cookbook.

Every sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in the state also received a copy.

Each recipe was kitchen-tested by students in the Department of Nutritional Sciences for accuracy and taste. Once submissions were selected for the cookbook, a nutrient analysis was performed.

Connecticut Cooks for Kids is divided into eight main recipe sections: beverages, soups and stews, entrees, vegetables, fruits, breads and muffins, snacks and desserts, and other recipes.

The editors also include sections that deal with child and family nutrition, food handling and other important but often overlooked nutritional information.

"We have a section titled Tips for Growing' where we discuss some topical issues, such as fat intake for children, children who want to eat the same thing every day, and ways to get children to eat fruits and vegetables," Thompson said. "We've also included several tips on ways to get children involved with food preparation. We've found that when kids can be a part of making the meal, they're more likely to want to eat what's put in front of them."

The cookbook features bright, full-color illustrations by Karen A. Ritchie of Meriden.

The editors are hoping to have Connecticut Cooks for Kids in bookstores statewide. Until then, the book is available directly from the Department of Nutritional Sciences for $12, including shipping and handling. To order, call 486-1787 or fax to 486-3674.

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