Kids in the Kitchen

Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington - Kids in the Kitchen project

Annually since 2006, the JLHB has joined over 200 other Junior Leagues in four countries to address the urgent issues surrounding childhood obesity and poor nutrition. Childhood obesity is a global health issue that has grown at an astonishing rate.  One in four Canadian children is overweight. Obese children are more likely to have longer-ranging health problem such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, asthma attacks and kidney problems. Overweight and obesity are also associated with poor self-esteem and depression.

Kids in the Kitchen is a unique and interactive program, designed to empower children to make healthy lifestyle choices. Spearheaded by the Association of Junior Leagues International, it builds upon a heritage of impact Junior Leagues have had on family nutrition for the past 108 years. The program, which the Junior League of Calgary started as Junior Chefs in 2001, is now being offered  by the JLHB and other independent Junior Leagues in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Proudly, in 2011, Canada's 'Looneyspoons Sisters', Janet and Greta Podleski, have joined the Canadian campaign. Read more about their involvement.

As kids are more likely to eat meals they have had a hand in preparing. Kids in the Kitchen involves children in the preparation of meals that are tasty and affordable, by making it fun and giving them tasks they can handle. The program also promotes the benefits of family dining.  Recent studies indicate that family dining improves the dietary habits of children.

Junior Leagues also offer a comprehensive Kids in the Kitchen website that features kid-friendly, nutritious recipes from celebrities, chefs and athletes and an educational interactive game provided by Cartoon Network.  Kids and their parents can also access nutrition and exercise tips and nutritional quizzes.

JLHB Local Activities

April 16, 2011

The New Members of our Junior League, together with Kids Can Cook, headed to Halton Women's Place, a local shelter for abused women and their children, to teach the children and moms about the importance of proper nutrition and regular exercise.

With Easter around the corner, Chocolate Banana Muffin with Chocolate Drizzle were on the menu.  Healthy eating and cooking techniques were emphasized as the muffins were made from scratch and each participant meticulously measured and combined the fresh ingredients. While the muffins baked and to round out the day, the children painted wooden spoons to create chicks or bunnies with glue, feathers and sparkles. The children also received goody bags with skipping ropes, other fitness items and additional healthy snacks.

During the mornings activities, a teenage boy whose mother had never baked with her son was overhead saying "Mom, we can make muffins at our new place". Another mother tried some veggie chips, which were on hand as a snack item and commented "I thought I wouldn't like then, but they were good!"

The JLHB New Members were creative and compassionate whether feeding a baby a bottle or helping to stir muffin mix.  The comments heard throughout the morning made it clear that their the women and children staying at the shelter  enjoyed working along side the Junior League in the kitchen.

Halton Women's Place is the ONLY emergency shelter serving Halton Region.  They operate 52 beds on a daily basis and have a 24 hour crisis line.  There were many times last year that the shelters operated at over capacity.  They assisted over 1000 women and 1300 children through their residential and transitional support programs.  They rely on community partners to help raise awareness and keep their programs running.

April 21, 2010

Hess St. Elementary School children joined Chef Jason Gibson (Jason Gibson Personal Chef Services) in The Hamilton Spectator kitchen for the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington's 5th Annual Kids in the Kitchen. Grade 5 and 6 children rolled up their sleeves to make a nutritious meal and learned how to re-create these meals at home with their families. With the assistance of Hoopappeal, the children practiced the art of dance with hula-hoops to reinforce the value and importance of regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. 

'Brenda' and 'Zack', two of the Leagues Kids on the Block® puppets were on hand to share their message of "Don't Just Sit There, Do Something!"

March 2009

Kids in the Kitchen were "cooking up" a delectable event at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.  Guest chefs included Chris Haworth, an Executive Chef from Spencers at The Waterfront in Burlington and Jason Gibson a Personal Chef; Jason Gibson Personal Chef Services.

The New Member Group of the Junior League Hamilton-Burlington planned an exciting day of fun activities for the children to help them learn more about healthy living and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. The children visited a variety of stations throughout the day, each with a specific theme:  cooking, fire safety, fitness, farming and nutrition.

The professional chefs engaged the children, ages 6-15, in the food preparation, creating a healthy meal of chicken quesadilla's, salad and apple tarts. All the major food groups were included as the menu in the selections. As positive role models in the community, our local firefighters spoke to the children about fire prevention and personal safety; a certified trainer, Matt Green with Freestyle Fitness, took the children through a fitness routine they could do at home; the Hamilton Eat Local Grow organization taught about the benefits of consuming a diet of locally grown foods;  each child received a plant to cultivate at home.  The day was fun and interactive.

Participants had an opportunity to enjoy the food they prepared sitting down to eat together as a community family. Recent studies indicate that family dining improves dietary habits of children. At the end of the day, children were provided with products and information to assist them with creating the same type of meal in their own home.

Chris Haworth, with Spencer's at the Waterfront, states "We have to re-teach ourselves (starting with our children) the lost art of cooking a homemade meal, and more importantly, to eat as a family at the table. In recent years, we have lost this simple pleasure to the fast food TV nation we now live in. That's my motivation."  Chef Jason Gibson, with Jason Gibson Personal Chef Services, quoted "it is very important to me that children get a chance to learn how to prepare food for themselves. Part of our problem as eaters is that we never learn how easy it is to prepare simple healthy meals. We tend to lean on fast food for our daily intake, when really good healthy food is even faster! I hope the children will come away with some knowledge of how important it is to feed your body good stuff!"

March 2008

Kids in the Kitchen "cooked up" a delectable event at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in Hamilton.  With the assistance of Liaison College Chef, Lindsay Vandekamp, the children participating made their own healthy meals. The kids had the opportunity to discuss healthy eating tips with a Registered Dietician and there was vigorous physical activity to round out the March Break day of fun.

This was the first event held in the Centre's newly renovated kitchen, with Junior League members assisting in providing various items to equip the kitchen. The Eva Rothwell Resource Centre, operated by the Robert Land Community Association, is home to an ever-growing number of innovative programs and services that are helping to improve the quality of life and enhance social well-being for an entire North Hamilton neighbourhood. Some of the city's best kids are being inspired to bigger dreams and realizing unlimited potential. The Community Centre strives to provide access to community resources important to healthy living. Quoting Don MacVicar, Robert land Community Association Board Chair: "There couldn't be a more perfect time in life for the Junior League to connect with the children of the Rothwell Resource Centre. They have created a new and exciting vision to engage children in an interactive learning workshop.  That will not only be fun, but create dreams for the children and help to make their dreams come true."


The Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington focused on educating the young and expectant mothers of Hamilton's Grace Haven on how to plan meals both economically and nutritiously, enabling them to teach their young families, by example, about the importance of making healthy food choices.

JLHB - Kids in the Kitchen projectThe event, organized by JLHB New Members as their community impact project, was held at Fortino's on Main Street West in Hamilton. The young women from Good Shepherd's Grace Haven were given a tour of the supermarket and offered suggestions and tips on how to choose ingredients that are economical and fall within Canada's Food Guidelines. With the guidance and direction of Junior League members, the young ladies prepared several dishes suitable to serve at their child's first birthday party. Each teen and their babies left with a parting gift - kitchen gadgets, healthy eating information including a copy of Canada's Food Guide and healthy recipes for the moms; feeding bowls, books and toys for the babes.

The Salvation Army's Grace Haven in Hamilton is a multi-agency partnership offering residential and day programmes in a compassionate environment, with educational opportunities and individualized social and parenting programs to enhance the lives of young single parents and their children.

Quick Links

JLHB Empower Hour

JLHB Discretionary Fund

Done In A Day

Kids in the Kitchen

Mark Preece Family House

VON - Junior League Overnight Respite Centre

Re-Building New Orleans

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