“Quick! Put it in the freezer before it makes you cry!”
Sara Broome, founder of Kids Fit Kitchen and our cooking class instructor, opens the freezer door so that her pint-sized assistant, Madison-Grace Barbles, can place the red onion inside. The girl in pink, who is nearly 4, helped cut the ends off the bulb, her tiny hand placed over Broome’s on the chef’s knife. She did the same with yellow bell pepper for today’s featured recipe, Rainbow Summer Rolls, her expression alternately serious in concentration and grinning with pride.
While the onion chills in the freezer for five to 10 minutes — long enough to quell its tear-inducing sulfuric gases so that Madison can help slice it up without fear, we learn — the duo relocates to the living room for a set of lunges. From my screen I see two silhouettes, in unison, step back, pop forward, and clap to patty cake on the way up.
Broome’s Kids Fit Kitchen program is simple yet engaging: prep two ingredients in a plant-based recipe, then perform two movement exercises, until the dish is finished. “When kids are part of the process, they will eat healthy foods,” Broome notes. “This isn’t a cutesy little thing, it’s an educational program. It’s an experience.”
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A lifelong vegan and longtime local fitness coach and educator, Broome (aka Sara B Fit) formulated Kids Fit Kitchen Live as a TV show. However, when she launched the series via YouTube and Facebook Live about two months ago, Broome missed the in-person interaction that set the tone for group classes. Those began about eight years ago while she was a nanny striving to get kids off the couch (and to eat vegetables!) at dinnertime.
So, Broome switched to a live webinar format via Zoom, offering a week of daily free classes to a steady mix of about a dozen kids and grownups. (She reprises the live webinar series as a free, two-day introduction on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31.) Participants may then sign up for the more intensive 6- and 12-month family group coaching program that weaves together nutrition education and personal development activities with a side of environmental and animal awareness. (Each lesson incorporates a “compassionate cue” by Broome, who recently authored “Blinky Saves the Sea Turtles,” a children’s book about the harm of plastic to sea life).
“It’s so fun to see the parents and kids together on Zoom,” says Broome, who sends a grocery list in advance so attendees can follow along by cooking at home. “It’s time to put the fun back into having to be home together. Let’s feel a sense of structure, routine and connection during a time of disconnect.”
Parents and guardians might also collect new tools and tricks for making healthful living fun. We learn how certain superfoods, such as cucumbers and brown rice, protect against aging and detoxify the body. (Kids dig anything with superpowers, natch.)
Throughout the rainbow-rolling session, Madison uses a vegetable peeler to carve carrot ribbons, learns how to flex abdominal muscles in a seated Russian twist, and smacks a basil leaf between her hands to release natural essential oils. “It smells better!” she chirps confidently.
While Broome turns away from the camera, Madison wraps sticky wet rice paper around colorful ingredients at a swift, smooth pace, all by herself. In seconds she’s finished the dish. With her mother, Ashley, alongside to carry the glass plate, Madison jumps down from her perch, eager to deliver her work to her father off-screen.
“Guys, your kids just made dinner,” Broome exclaims. “You’re welcome!”