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6 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Healthy, and Like It

The founders of L.A.’s sought-after Alma restaurant developed a popular after-school program that teaches kids about nutrition, from garden to table.

In 2013, we introduced GOOD readers to Ashleigh Parsons, the co-owner of a hip new Los Angeles restaurant who was also in charge of the establishment’s community outreach program. The eatery, Alma, went on to be named Bon Appetit’s best new restaurant that year. The outreach initiative, an after-school and weekend wellness program for Los Angeles public school students, has also been a success. Several times a month, Parsons and company teach kids, many of whom live and attend school in areas that lack access to nutritious food, about cultivating produce and cooking healthy meals. Though Parsons has a master’s degree in education, her most valuable lessons have come from interacting with her students in two high schools and one K-8 charter school in Los Angeles’ underserved Rampart neighborhood. Here are six tips she’s learned about how to get kids of any age interested in healthy food.

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After I finished up my master's of education in May last year, I began developing the Alma Community Outreach Program alongside the opening of Alma Restaurant in downtown LA last June. The restaurant's co-owner and chef, Ari Taymor, agreed the community outreach program would be an essential component of the business—coupling our passion for food with education.

The program provides monthly classes teaching elementary and high school students how to create a healthy snack or meal. Beyond the cooking component, we hope to impart a sense of empowerment in the young people—the understanding that these recipes can be replicated at home, free from the confines of a cooking class.

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