Junior Food Explorers provides Nutrition, Food & Health Promotion Workshops/Incursions and Consultancy to Early Learning Centres

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Our services & benefits:  Hands-on sensory food, health & nutrition workshops | Nutrition activities for kids | Menus and healthy eating policy development | Children's feeding advice | Encouraging healthy eating practices without pressure or stress | Helping ELCs help their families raise great eaters | Getting kids excited about fruit & veg/vegetables/veggies | Developing healthy bodies and minds (including healthy attitudes and body image) | Reducing overweight & obesity risk | Reducing risk of dietary-related disease development through health prevention | Encouraging adventurous eaters.
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Parent-child workshops

Junior Foodie Classes — Turning Fussy Eaters into Foodies


N.B. Any reference to “parent” refers also to any guardian, carer or adult relative.


What’s involved in the Junior Foodies Classes?
The workshops for children aged 3–6 require parent and child participation and run for 1 hour. The workshops involve exposure to and handling of food, play with food, age-appropriate preparation/cooking and general play. Each parent-child will be provided with food and equipment to work with and may be provided with an age-appropriate child-safe knife (e.g. Kiddies Food Kutter or nylon knife) for use during the session depending on the activities of the day. The parent/guardian may be provided with kitchen tools to assist with more complex tasks.

Will you offer classes for younger and older children?
There has been plenty of interest in this and I’m listening! For younger children, I’m looking to offer sensory food exploration and play sessions. For older children, sessions involving food exploration, cooking and food science.


If you’re interested, please let me know via the "Register your Interest" button above. 

What foods are explored?

Junior Food Explorers' main purpose is to improve children's relationships with fruits and vegetables and overall healthy food attitudes. Because we don't eat fruits and vegetables in isolation, other food groups form an equally important part of the workshops. Sometimes we explore small amounts, one type or a few — whatever makes the sessions unintimidating and enjoyable.


In some sessions we may even use discretionary (sometimes) foods. This is because good relationship with food means not being overly restrictive. Restriction has the ability to backfire e.g. children deprived of lollies growing up are likely to seek them out and overindulge once they gain food autonomy. When out of reach, it can be viewed as more desirable. Strategic exposure helps to normalise it and reduce the risk of these behaviours.

I’m not on the northern beaches or north shore, but I’m interested
Please get in touch and I will let you know if classes are planned to proceed in your area.

Can I bring more than one child?
Being a parent-child class, I require you to adequately supervise your child throughout the workshop and provide prompt assistance as needed. For this reason, and to minimise excess noise and distraction, we advise against more than one child per parent/guardian. Exceptions may be made at our discretion depending on certain circumstances and current intake for the term. You may ask to find out. If considered acceptable for additional children to attend with the one parent/guardian, a 50% sibling fee may apply (this is because group numbers may need to be reduced for an ideal learning environment).

N.B. This has been a tough one to navigate — I empathise with families who have more than one child, however sensory exploration requires minimal distraction. Hopefully I’ll have an option to easily accommodate both in the future.

Can I just come once?
The purpose of the workshops is to help children develop good relationships with food. To do so, we work on improving familiarity, comfort and trust in a variety of foods. This is not something that happens immediately, but over time with regular effort. Enrolment is offered in half-term blocks, allowing for continuity yet some flexibility. It also helps children to have consistency and become familiar with others in the peer group.

Will you offer casual classes?
I am considering one-off cooking classes in the future for children who are already quite comfortable with a range of foods and want to build skills and build interest in fruits and vegetables into their diet. Please let me know if this interests you.

How long should I attend these classes?
For as long as you like. Minimum enrolment period is typically 4 or 5 weeks.


Can I come for a trial?
Yes, but only if there is last-minute space. Please note that I don’t offer free trials.

Why are classes more expensive than a typical parent-child class?
Families are not just paying for their child to explore foods but professional expertise and guidance. 
Classes are kept small (up to 8 groups) to ensure quality.
A decent amount of time is involved behind the scenes such as planning, resource development, procurement of fresh food, cleaning that satisfactorily meets food handling standards and laundering. On top of this there is venue hire costs, insurance and other consumables. In all, the fees cover several hours of my time and are very reasonable when compared to formal paediatric group feeding therapy. 


Can you help my child eat more {insert specific food}?
The group-based classes provide general education and information and are not designed to address specific needs, likes or dislikes. In alignment with best-practice feeding, we don’t use any pressure, coercion, trickery, bribery or similar tactics (while these may work in the short-term, they often backfire). Instead the approach is to respect a child’s readiness to interact with certain foods. You are however likely to gain useful strategies that you can use in the home to spark curiosity and get your child on the path to improve liking and accepting certain foods.


Consultations are available separately if you require assistance with your child or family’s individual needs.


My child isn’t actually a fussy eater. But it sound like fun. Is this suitable for them?
Yes. It’s important to keep children interested, just as it is getting them interested. The more adventurous children in the class serve as wonderful role-models. By bringing your child, you’re not just having a fun time, but helping other families by being there.


How long will it take to see results?
I cannot promise or guarantee that your child will improve. Progress (if any) is dependent on a variety of factors. Some children overcome selective eating behaviours very quickly, for others there may be quite complex underlying causes that require long-term intervention, e.g. ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), which unfortunately has no proven treatment. 

Eating is influenced by overall health and function, the sensory system, development stage, learning ability, nutritional status and the environment. Pinpointing the exact problem(s) is not always easy.


If your child’s eating is causing you concern, please request a referral from your GP to see a suitable paediatrician. It’s important that any medical causes are first ruled out. 


My child has a food allergy/intolerance
Common dietary requests can be accommodated within reason. While all due care is taken on my behalf, I cannot guarantee that the environment will be completely free from trace allergens or that food manufacturers have truthfully disclosed allergen or trace allergens on their packaging. If you have specific concerns or needs, please discuss them with me before enrolling.

Please be understanding that while I empathise greatly with allergy/intolerance sufferers, the purpose of the workshops are to increase variety in the diet and I may have to, and regretfully, refuse enrolment if the risk is deemed to high or if it adversely impacts other participants. 


On this note, I’d love to introduce allergy and intolerance-friendly sessions in the future because I believe everyone deserves a safe environment to enjoy their food. Please contact me to let me know if you would like to see this happen.


My child has sensory sensitivities/SPD
I am aware and sensitive to children with sensory needs. If you have any concerns, please raise them with me. I will do my best to make your child feel as comfortable as possible.


My child has a developmental delay, disability or behavioural concerns
Please enquire with me before booking so that appropriate recommendations or modifications can be made before enrolling.


If you have any questions that have not been answered here please get in touch.