Healthier Together: How to get kids to eat healthy meals


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As our kids head back to school, some planning and creativity will go a long way in establishing healthy eating habits.

FOX 13 News is taking you inside the FareStart Kitchen in Seattle where the executive chef is dishing her secrets to healthy family meals on a budget.

Danielle Ott knows what kids like to eat.

As executive chef at FareStart -- she also understands what parents are aiming for when it comes to packing a healthy lunch.

"At FareStart we follow very strict guidelines for providing nutritious meals to our children," Ott said. "They need to include whole grains - we do seasonal and fresh vegetables and fruit mainly unprocessed food and overall nutrient dense foods as well."

Since 1992, the nonprofit has prepared well over 16 million meals for schools, healthcare centers, shelters and daycare centers.

"We swap out ingredients, so if you have a recipe that has white rice we switch it to a whole grain brown rice or if it’s a cheese sauce that maybe you need to make allergen free or you don’t want all that diary or heavy fats, we’ll change it to a plant based sauce."

With inflation some may find it harder to buy nutritious food, so Chef Ott suggests planning in advance, stick to your grocery list, and cook in bulk when you can, so you can freeze meals for later in the week.

"Find ingredients that your family really likes and buy that in bulk other options are always to buy frozen vegetables they are just as nutritious as fresh but they’ll last a little bit longer," Ott said.

Another option to keep costs down - going meatless at least one day a week.

"Sometimes people hear meatless and they think ‘oh no I’m not getting meat what am I gonna do!’ if you just don’t tell them they’re eating vegetarian they might not notice."

Chef Ott says one of the best ways to help your kids establish healthy eating habits is to get them involved.

"Take them grocery shopping and have them pick out a fruit that they want to eat or a vegetable that they want to eat or try and then as they get older get them involved in recipe planning having them work with you on a recipe if you do do bulk cooking,"

Chef Ott says it’s important to set a good example and eat healthy meals wit* your child. And when it comes to introducing reluctant kids to new healthy foods, don’t get discouraged.

"It’s always important to fill their plate with something nutritious that you know that they currently like and can fill up on and then take the new item and just give them a smaller portion and see if they like it eat it and if they don’t like it its ok."

FareStart is a James Beard Award-winning nonprofit organization that transforms lives, disrupts poverty and nourishes communities through food, life skills and job training. FareStart provides hands-on training to students through its social enterprise businesses. Since 1992, FareStart has provided opportunities for over 11,000 adults and youth, while serving over 16.6 million meals to Seattle area schools, homeless shelters and healthcare facilities. Seventy-four percent of adults who graduate from FareStart gain employment within 90 days of graduation. For more information, visit


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