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Taking the 'ICK' Out of Picky Eaters

GOT MILK? Teams Up With Children Culinary Schools to Share Tasty, Nutritious Eats

SAN CLEMENTE, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/26/09 -- They wrinkle their nose in distaste. Shake their head. Clench their mouth shut. Push away the food. This is the progression of a picky eater at the dinner table. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that looked at the eating habits of twins between 8 and 11 years old, researchers found that 78 percent of food preferences are hereditary.(1) And while this "finicky eater syndrome" may be genetic, cooking experts say parents shouldn't despair. This crisis can be averted by slipping in nutritious foods children don't get enough of, like milk and green veggies, into savory dishes that will tickle the taste buds. That's why the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), the creator of GOT MILK?, has joined forces with children's culinary schools statewide to uncover the delicious possibilities of nutritious foods like milk and vegetables -- foods essential for healthy growth and development.

The partnerships with Piccolo Chef in Culver City, Captain Cook's Culinary for Kids in San Diego and Sacramento Culinary Center & Showroom yielded palate-pleasing, nutrient-rich recipes, like melt-in-your-mouth meatballs and creamy Nutty McButternut Squash Soup.

"Nutrition is a priority for parents," says Steve James, the executive director of the CMPB. "By creating this partnership with children's culinary schools, we're offering parents recipes that go beyond hot dogs and pizzas. By instilling an appreciation of milk and nutritious foods at a young age, we can ensure that young people will have the nutrients necessary to grow strong and healthy."

Chefs from throughout the Golden State agree that children can grow to like foods like spinach, broccoli and low-fat milk if they are incorporated into tasty dishes, sauces, and soups. Another tip: Get kids in the kitchen where they will experience the colors and aromas of food. Some studies show that involving kids in meal preparation makes them more likely to try new foods.

"We don't believe in hiding the vegetables," says Tina Fanelli Moraccini, of children's culinary school Piccolo Chef. "But you do have to be creative. Children should be involved in the cooking process that way they feel it with their hands, see it with their eyes, smell it with their nose, cook it and eat it."

The recipes developed by the children's culinary schools have been outlined exclusively at and are evidence that vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, and butternut squash can be cool again. Even more nutritious is the ingredient that binds these dishes together -- good old-fashioned milk.

The fact is the majority of children aren't getting the calcium necessary for growth and to stay healthy. National Institutes of Health reports more than 90 percent of girls and 75 percent of boys ages 9 to 13 have inadequate calcium intake. (2)

All of GOT MILK?'s picky eaters' recipes include low-fat milk to boost children's calcium intake and to allow them to enjoy milk in different ways. Among the tasty eats are Mini Veggie Quiches which are the perfect size for little hands, but are loaded with mushrooms, yellow squash and other vegetables to meet their growing needs. For pasta night, parents can prepare a flavorsome Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce guilt-free knowing this creamy sauce is a delicious healthy alternative which uses pureed cauliflower and low fat milk instead of cream.

"Children need good healthy nutritious foods," says Karen Whitehead, Captain's Cook Culinary Director. "These recipes are a great example of how kids can eat good quality food and at the same time enjoy a meal that tastes great. You can say they are kid-tested and GOT MILK? approved!"

For these and other recipes, and tips on how to combat the picky eater challenge, visit

About the CMPB

The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. Awareness of GOT MILK? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history. GOT MILK? is a federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy boards since 1995. The CMPB's Spanish-language campaign began in 1994 using the tagline "Familia, Amor y Leche" (Family, Love and Milk). The TOMA LECHE (Drink Milk) campaign replaced it in 2006, following a growing trend in Hispanic food advertising that uses wit and humor to reach audiences. GOT MILK? gifts and recipes can be viewed at and The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

(1) Severson, Kim. "Picky Eaters? They Get It From You." The New York Times 10 Oct. 2007, sec. Dining & Wine.

(2) "Why are the tween and teen years so critical?" National Institutes of Health.

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