Bringing Grow Happy to life at home: The Shipley family’s cooking adventure

Meal time is more than just that at KinderCare – when children in our centers sit down for breakfast, lunch, or a snack, they’re trying new foods and learning new skills. Sarah Shipley, Nutrition and Wellness Administrator, supports our cooks, teachers, and center directors with all things nutrition – what better way to bring our programs to life than trying them at home with her own kids?

“I feel strongly about KinderCare Education’s approach to nutrition,” said Sarah. “It’s all about the children – how we teach them about the food they eat at school and how they can bring that to life at home.”

Sarah’s two youngest children, Oliver (9) and Isabel (10) tried their hands at recreating KinderCare’s newest vegetarian recipes – a fiesta rice and bean bowl, Lo Mein noodles, and chickpea biriyani. Sarah and her family committed to eating each of these meals family style – just like they’re served in our centers.

“Family style dining encourages children to try new foods, and gives them a choice in what they want to eat,” said Courtney Hines, KCE’s registered dietician. “Having that autonomy is engaging and exciting for children.”

For busy family’s like Sarah’s, finding time to sit and eat as a family can be challenging.

“Sitting down together to try new things can be difficult to pull off,” said Sarah. “But family style dining is so important, and it really makes that connection between home and school for the kids.”

KinderCare’s newest recipes were a big hit in the Shipley household – and Sarah felt good knowing her kids were learning new things and eating nutritious food in the process. Plus, kids are more likely to try new foods if they’re involved in the process of shopping for ingredients, and preparing and serving their meal.

“These recipes are so easy to follow, especially for kids,” she said. “They learn about measuring, sizes, colors, and more.”

See below for Sarah, Oliver, and Isabel’s adventure. Learn more about our exciting new recipes here.

Fiesta Rice and Bean Bowl (Click here for recipe)

The fiesta bowl, packed with hearty black beans, whole grain rice, and topped with cheese and cilantro was a family favorite.

“My daughter loved it so much, she asked if we could have it every night!” said Sarah.

Chickpea Biriyani (Click here for recipe)

“My son Oliver wants to be a chef, and this recipe was especially fun for him,” said Sarah.

Biriyani, a popular Indian mixed-rice dish, calls for chopped green beans and dried ginger. At the Shipley house, Oliver took on the challenge of peeling and grating fresh ginger for the dish.

“He was so proud of himself!” said Sarah.

Before trying KinderCare’s biriyani dish, Oliver and Isabel had only tried chick peas in their hummus.

“Our new recipes introduce kids to different foods that they’ve never tried before,” said Sarah. “It’s a great way for them to try new things and learn about the world around them.”

Amazing Lo Mein (Click here for recipe)

Lo Mein is a popular Chinese noodle dish. Prepared as a vegetarian dish in our centers, Sarah and her family added chicken to suit their preference.

“Oliver and Isabel liked it a lot and we’ll definitely make it again,” said Sarah.

Aspiring chef Oliver got to practice his knife skills (safely!) while chopping fresh veggies.

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