The 411 Food Fair

(L-r) Chef Shay, Asiyah Sackor, and Alsawaf Ali make lasagna rolls

Bringing kids into the kitchen

Contributed By:The 411 News

It's about rebuilding families eating habits

Your kids won’t even know they’re eating bok choy and swiss chard, Chef Shay told parents during a demonstration on how to include more healthy foods in meals. Chef Shay, Shannon Smith, returned to ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen for her third seminar this summer – Kids in the Kitchen.

The standing room only crowd of parents and their children made for lively conversations during the chef’s preparation of fruit kebobs, a mason jar lunch, stuffed peppers, lasagna rolls, and a peach sorbet. For each dish, tough decisions had to be made who to pick as nearly every child raised hands to assist the chef.

Children wanted to know: What are calories, what are anti-oxidants?

Smith’s demonstrations flowed like a scripted television show. Her audience didn’t have to wait for the stuffed peppers to come out of the oven or the sorbet to freeze because the chef brought out already completed versions.

Her class was about more than just eating healthy foods. “It’s about rebuilding families eating habits, making it fun to cook and fellowship with people you love,” Smith says. “Empower your children for life. Take them grocery shopping. Bring them into the kitchen and show them how to cook.”

Her advice to parents to curb children’s overeating, “Serve meals on a smaller plate and fill it up entirely. When finished, tell them ‘that is all; you’re done with your plate.’ ” Their brains will work better at it, Smith said, following the parent’s lead that the meal is over. Let them have almonds or grapes if they’re still hungry, she added.

Smith’s fight to control her own weight led to a passion for fitness and nutrition and now to being an entrepreneur.

On her website,, Smith said she started her business after, “People began requesting my meal plan recipes and wanting me to cook their meals to accommodate their busy lives. I started my business NJOY Eats & Prep in 2014 which helps people tap into their JOYwhile upgrading their nutritional culinary experience.”

ArtHouse, 411 E. Fifth Avenue in Gary’s downtown, is the place for food, culture, and art lovers to meet, gather, and learn.

Story Posted:08/18/2017

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