Rancho Santa Fe dietician launches cookbook to get ‘Little Hands’ involved in the kitchen

By Claire Harlin

When Peggy Korody’s two sons were kids, she used to take them on “grocery store field trips” to the produce department, have them each choose a vegetable they’d never tried before and then go home to prepare and eat their picks together.

“It was a way to take the fear out of trying new foods,” said the registered dietician, who still incorporates fear-easing strategies into her current family nutritional coaching. “They also had their own shelf in the pantry and fridge at 18 months old, and were making their own breakfast.”

Now ages 20 and 21, Korody’s boys have grown up to be healthy and independent in the kitchen, and the Rancho Santa Fe resident has published her first cookbook aimed to help other families incorporate nutritional awareness and participation into their kids’ lives.

“Little Hands in the Kitchen” is now available for purchase on

, and the author is holding a book signing and cooking class on Jan. 17 in Solana Beach to celebrate the launch. At the event, which is free with the purchase of the book ($21.50), Korody will be cooking up one of her family’s favorite meals from the book: Hibachi Chicken, Veggie Fried Rice and Hibachi Bean Sprouts.

“My sons used to make the fried rice for me,” Korody said. “When my oldest was in 6th grade he had to cook a meal for the class and he used the Benihana grill my mother-in-law had given him and the class just loved it. It was the hit of the whole project.”

Korody said Asian food is something her family eats often because it is healthy, quick and easy to put together.

Her book also focuses much on the MyPlate standards set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2011 and pioneered by First Lady Michelle Obama. More information on MyPlate can be found at


“The pyramid thing was too confusing for people,” said Korody. “MyPlate is more visual … Half your plate should be color, a quarter starch and less than a quarter protein.”

Color, she said, means a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Korody, who holds a bachelor of science degree in nutrition from San Diego State University and completed a 900-hour internship through Utah State University, said her role is much different than that of a nutritionist, a title that does not always require a license and is unregulated. She specializes in cooking classes, recipe conversion (adapting meals to a client’s particular needs), diet counseling and child nutrition.

“Everything I practice is based on research,” she said.

“If it doesn’t have a valid study or studies behind it, I don’t do it.”

She pointed to a number of diets and health practices that have less basis than commonly thought, such as eating cinnamon to lower cholesterol or going gluten-free to lose weight.

“Everyone thinks all their problems are related to gluten but that’s not always true,” Korody said. “Gluten actually has health benefits … and if you go gluten-free you need to eliminate grains altogether. Manufacturers are replacing gluten with sugar and fat.”

The book signing and cooking class for “Little Hands in the Kitchen” will take place at the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle in the “Little Yellow Cottage” at 533 Lomas Santa Fe in Solana Beach (behind the Boys and Girls Club).

For more information, contact Korody at or call (858) 401-9936.