In early July I had the opportunity to work with one of the summer camps run by 21st Century After School Programs at Mission View Elementary School. The concept for this summer camp was so fantastic that I had to be a part of it. The program developers had the kids catching fish, dissecting fish, talking about the life cycle of fish, and also cooking and eating fish. It was a big-picture learning experience that I’m thrilled the kids got to participate in.

For my part I found a delicious fish taco recipe and tested it at home. It. Was. So. Good! I modified the recipe a bit by using plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and making flour tortillas by hand. These were hands-down the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten and I honestly think it had everything to do with the homemade tortillas. So I wheeled in my cart of ingredients and set up for a fantastic two days of cooking and eating these delightful fish tacos. Imagine my surprise when students first arrived in the room saying “Ewwww fish!”

In my excitement about this delicious recipe I totally forgot that a lot of kids really don’t like to eat fish. So I reassured them that I wasn’t going to make them eat it and encouraged them to try at least a bite to see what they thought of their cooking. After a quick discussion about the nutritional benefits of eating fish, we set to work.

An hour of marinating, grilling, chopping and mixing later and we had a plate of hot fish meat, some cabbage corn slaw, and chopped mango and avocado to pile onto their hand rolled and pan cooked tortillas. I have to tell you, kids get really proud of their work and pretty much everyone was willing to try the fish that they’d put their effort into.

To their great surprise, most loved it. “It tastes like chicken!” one student said. We cooked 15 rainbow trout in those two days and they ate at least 14 of them. It was a great experience and really reinforced for me that cooking with kids is a great way to get them to try more foods, especially healthy ones.

What’s your experience? Have your kids ever been adamant about not liking something only to find out they really enjoyed it?

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