Biting into Creativity with Christina Appleton

Christina Appleton is the creator of Power Veggie Bites - a delicious mini-meal full of the nutrients we need in just one minute - and CEO of Appleton's Market. The original Appleton’s Market was a mom ‘n’ pop grocery store founded by her great-grandparents. Passed down through the generations, the store was where she grew up riding her tricycle through the aisles and building paper-towel forts. It’s where she fell in love with food and her family’s tradition of healthy and wholesome fare. Today it's all shared through her Appleton’s Market with savory snacks made full ingredients from farms across Southern California straight to your freezer. She invented an easy, tasty way to get your veggies and she shared her thoughts about creativity with us this month!

1. Why do you think it’s important to save kids' creativity?

Creative kids become creative adults! If kids grow up thinking that the world is all black and white, that there is only one way to do things, and that everything has a clear "correct" and "incorrect," they will not be able to roll with the challenges that adulthood brings. Working that "creativity muscle" in childhood sets one up for greater success later in life and helps kids test their own boundaries. I know that my own creativity in the kitchen as a child helped me to have confidence and life skills now that I am an adult... kind of an adult!

2. How do you help kids stay creative?

I find it to be most useful to lean into a kid's natural abilities. I am always amazed at how quickly children show their preferences and aptitudes and I say "embrace it"! One of my good friends has two little girls, opposite in interests. Her older girl is a natural athlete, so we challenge her to come up with games and new flips and moves on the trampoline. Her other daughter is very artistic, so while one is working on flips, we challenge the other to come up with a new way to make a daisy-chain necklace.

3. What kind of drinks and snacks help kids be more imaginative?

Anything interactive is a great way to engage kids and get the creativity flowing. So instead of just "pizza night", maybe it's "make your own pizza night" with small flatbreads and bowls of ingredients. Kids can mix and match what they like. I'm also a big fan of layered snacks - maybe it's creating ants on a log and a little story to go along with it, or deciding which flavor combinations work best between different cereals and nuts. There is really not a lot of great ready-to-go options out there, that are both fun AND healthy!

4 How do you unlock your own creativity?

As an adult, sometimes it can be difficult to access one's creative muscle as we are frequently focused on the here and now and getting things done. I find the best way to access my creativity is to put myself in a different environment and throw myself in. I try to constantly remind myself of the little girl I was at five, when I went on a family vacation to visit friends who had an amazing pool. I vowed that day one that I would learn how to swim and I just kept jumping in until I did it. Creativity works the same way for me - you just gotta dive into the deep end!

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