Playing With Your Food:
Kids Learn About Good Nutrition and Have Fun Doing It!
By Dave Woods
Stacey Clair likes to have fun with her food.
“We do fun stuff on a regular basis,” the operations director for Northwest Arkansas Village Inn said. “When we serve kids pancakes sometimes they are in the shape of our mascot Bucky the Bear.”
On a recent evening, Official Kids Mag brought a handful of hungry kids together at Village Inn in Fayetteville to sample a variety of hearty pancakes and try their hands at getting artistic with their dinner. The crew at Village Inn put together a couple of tables of sliced and diced fruits, grains and edible decorating supplies and challenged the kids to have fun, eat healthy and decorate their pancakes.
“Today I wanted to use the kids creativity to see what they would come up with using everything we have in our kitchen,” she explained. “We have fruits and grains and different kinds of healthy alternatives with the pancakes. We use our multigrain pancakes instead of regular pancakes and use sugar free syrup.”
Cooking, Stacey explained, is her passion.
“I love to cook,” she said. “When kids don’t like things I cook it forces you to go back to the kitchen and be more creative and find something else. I’ve got kids who are picky eaters in my family. It’s kind of like my own cooking challenge to go into the kitchen and find something that they will eat.”
Stacey said kids always surprise her with their take on new foods and with their willingness to try new things.
“I was surprised,” she said of our pancake eating cadre’s chagrin at sugar free syrup. “They weren’t into it in the beginning. When they tried it a lot of them liked the multigrain pancakes and sugar free syrup better.”
While cooking and decorating your food is a good time, eating healthy and following a good diet is important, too.
“Cooking is fun and there is no limit to the creativity you can express,” Stacey said. “It can truly be an art form. Food can fuel your brain and give you more energy and make is easier to study.”
Well said, Stacey. Well said.
“One of the things to try to express to kids is to eat the colors of the rainbow. If you eat the colors of the rainbow that usually is good for getting all different types of nutrients and vitamins.”
– Stacey Clair, Village Inn
Q & A
n Jackson P, 5, Willowbrook Elementary
OKM: Did you like it today?
Jackson: I loved it.
OKM: What did you love about?
Jackson: That I got to decorate them
OKM: What was your favorite to decorate? The fruit or the
Jackson: The icing.
OKM: What else? Did you learn anything about good nutrition?
Jackson: I guess I did. It’s good to eat.
OKM: Do you like fruit?
OKM: Will you eat fruit with your pancakes at home now?
Jackson: Yes, I will.
n Alex R, 8, Greenland
OKM: What did you think about today. Was it fun?
OKM: What did you like? Decorating the pancakes?
OKM: Do you eat pancakes a lot?
Alex: Sometimes. Not too much
OKM: What do you want your friends to know about eating
Alex: They should.
OKM: It’s good to eat healthy?
n Annabel R, 9, Greenland
OKM: Do you like school?
OKM: What do you like about school?
OKM: What do you like about pancakes?
Annabel: Eating them.
OKM: Did you learn anything today?
Annabel: Yeah. I like fruit.
OKM: What about sugar?
Annabel: You don’t need sugar in the syrup.
OKM: What was your favorite part of today?
Annabel: Decorating them.
OKM: The icing is really popular.
n Angelina G, 11, McNair Middle School
OKM: What did you think about today?
Angelina: It was yummy and fun.
OKM: Have you ever played with pancakes before?
Angelina: No I didn’t know you could. It was fun.
OKM: What did you think; will you do it at home?
Angelina: Yeah, I think so.
OKM: What was your favorite part about decorating them?
Angelina: The eyeballs, I guess? Maybe. I liked the fruit.
OKM: What do you want your friends at school to know
about eating healthy pancakes?
Angelina: That it’s good.
n Emma G, 10, Farmington Middle School
OKM: What do you think about what you did today?
Emma: It was fun.
OKM: What was fun about it?
Emma: That we got to decorate.
OKM: What was your favorite part about decorating?
Emma: Using the cookie cutters.
OKM: You mean pancake cutters
Emma: I guess so? I got to use the cutters and shape the
pancakes. Try some fruit.
n McKenzie, 11, Farmington Middle School
OKM: You seemed to have a good time. Was it a good time?
OKM: What did you like?
McKenzie: I liked how we got to decorate the pancakes.
OKM: Did you use fruit with yours?
McKenzie: Yes I did.
OKM: What do you want your friends at school know about
sugar free syrup?
McKenzie: It was good.
OKM: What did you learn about pancakes?
McKenzie: They can be healthy.
n Yulianna R, 5, Greenland
OKM: Did you like the pancakes? What did you
like about that?
Yulianna: Decorating and eating them with eyeballs.
OKM: You ate an eyeball? Ewww. Were the eyeballs sweet?
OKM: What was your favorite part?
Yulianna: The icing.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes
• 4 small cooked buttermilk pancakes, cooled to room
• 1 (4 ounce) container strawberry yogurt
• 1/2 cup fresh fruit (such as sliced strawberries, blueberries
Place pancakes on plate; fold up sides of each like a taco. Spoon
about 2 tablespoons yogurt into each pancake taco. Top with
fruit. Serve immediately.