Taste Buddies Tips

We’re all about healthy eating for our children, so we’re excited to welcome Audine from Taste Buddies to our blog. Here founder and culinary expert Audine Brooks offers some insight into her business and shares some of the things that might help inspire healthy and interesting choices for mealtime.
Healthy eatingAs mums, at some stage in our mothering lives, we entice, encourage, motivate, cajole or bribe our children to try different foods…. Kids are naturally so inquisitive and instinctively ask questions about everything around them, yet most are ‘new-food-phobic’ by nature – afraid of different flavours, or merely use it as a bargaining tool against mum!
Our Taste Buddies program comprises culinary workshops whereby the children prepare wholesome meals themselves. Our concept aims to educate children about the ingredients’ origin and related fascinating facts, and we perform experiments showing how the ingredients react under different circumstances. These aspects serve to explore childrens’ innate sense of enquiry about food. They love the tactile experience of interacting with ingredients. By instilling creativity, confidence and curiosity about food varieties and nutrition, we’ve discovered that children derive a lot of pleasure from being constructive in the company of their friends, and pride in creating a meal themselves. While learning the strangest details about the ingredients, and observing their friends devouring the meal, they either wolf down their own portion without hesitation, or their guard is lowered and they’re enticed to taste.
Did you know that…
If you eat carrot every day for the rest of your life, then your palms will turn orange!
A woman once ate 7000 peas in one day, using chopsticks!!
Childlike gasps of wonderment ensue…
The early, impressionable years are a perfect window period to support children in forming positive attitudes towards different foods and developing good eating habits. Behavioural and allergy problems are often linked to incorrect nutrition, and education about better nutrition and meal preparation can help to reduce these struggles.

Taste Buddies is in its 4th year of providing children between the ages of 3 – 13 years with an insight into where their food comes from, how it is grown, how to prepare it and most of all, to experience and appreciate a wide variety of ingredients. Taste Buddies is teaching children that eating healthily is the best way to maintain and develop healthy minds and bodies.
We are passionate about good nutrition and educating children about the benefits of eating well, as well as teaching children in an interactive environment how to prepare various meals from smoothies, to salads, to main courses, to soups and snacks.
I just love comments from children in my class such as … ‘We use a spice called Singing Men in apple crumble’ (ie cinnamon)… and …‘Pumpkins have brains in the middle so they must be the cleverest vegetable in the world!’
Take ProNutro for example – a rather bland (in my view!) yet highly nutritious cereal… However if you tell a child that it is made by crushing corn, that the ears on the cob protect the corn from rain, hail and dust, that there are about 800 kernels in each cob, that these kernels make popcorn when dried… can you imagine their eyes wide in awe as they flatten their morning bowl of cereal, full of fibre!
And when offering an apple, chat about where apples are grown in trees, not underground like carrots and potatoes; that there are over 7000 varieties but the most popular are red, yellow, green and pink! …. China produces more apples than any other country and in Chinese, you greet saying ‘Nihau!’ Try this when you greet each other after school!
Or how about a banana…Did you know that reindeers like eating bananas… or that a man once ate 81 bananas in a half an hour!

Lucas aged 3Now perhaps we use ProNutro, apples and bananas, and create a highly nutritious muffin for lunch boxes and afternoon snacktime? (This recipe, sourced from ‘Sustained Energy For Kids’ by Steenkamp, Merlin & Wellmann can be found on our Facebook page

I’ve frequently referred to this recipe book over the years as my children matured in their food journey. It has loads of delicious and super healthy ideas!

The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods my kids eat. We dye mash blue, make smiley-face pancakes, use cookie cutters to turn toast into hearts and stars, give foods silly names like PowerPunch Pumpkin and Silly Dilly Zucchini, and make up stories for example Calvin pretending to be a lion who needs protein from eating his scrambled eggs, and when facing broccoli, Luke pretends he is a dinosaur who needs to eat five miniature trees in order to outrun a tyrannosaurus rex, and then suddenly those florets are a lot more interesting!
So involve your children in choosing and preparing meals and strive to be creative with your meal times, encouraging their fascination with food. No doubt, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created!