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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cooking with Kids plus a kid-friendly recipe

Girls thumbs up at Platt My PlateI think it is important that you include your kids as much as possible in actually planning, shopping for, and preparing the family meals.  If they are a part of that process, they are more likely to try and even enjoy healthier foods that you prepare. 

Also, many people today are lacking in basic cooking skills and that leads to a reliance on fast food and microwave processed foods, neither of which is healthy.  I believe that unless you are wealthy enough to have a personal chef, you have to be able to cook in order to eat healthy.  So, I try to include at least one or two of the girls when I cook.

Last weekend, the girls and I attended an event in Oklahoma City called “Platt My Plate, a hands-on cooking expo for families”, that was co-sponsored by Platt College’s Culinary Institute and the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition

The Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition is a statewide initiative to improve the overall health and well-being of Oklahoma youth and families by reducing childhood obesity. From their press release about the event:

” The goal of the Platt My Plate event is to get people moving and to teach them to cook a healthy meal based on the USDA “My Plate” guidelines.  In Oklahoma, one in three children are overweight or obese, we rank last in fruit and vegetable consumption and we’re on track to be the most obese state in the nation by 2018.”

By the way, “My Plate” replaces the USDA food pyramid with new nutritional information and encourages all families to choose to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables at every meal.

Girls talking to a chef at Platt My PlateAt the event, we had an opportunity to work together as a family to cook one “My Plate” meal under the direction of a presenting chef, who was Christine Dowd, Owner and Executive Chef of Trattoria Il Centro and Aunt Pitty Pats. Plus, the event was free. There was a great turnout and every cooking station in all three time slots seemed to be taken.

Girls cooking food at Platt my plate

The students from Platt College had already prepped all the ingredients for the families, so it only took a few minutes to cook our food and we didn’t have to use any knives.  The kids had a lot of fun making the  “Sautéed Chicken with Cider Sauce and Squash Noodles” and were very excited to take half of it home for Daddy and tell him that they made it.  They also enjoyed eating the other half themselves.

-Stacey

 

Girls eating food they cooked

Here is a link to what the finished dish looks like  and below is the recipe we made:

National Food Day is coming up

  • So, they have been having World Food Day for years and it primarily focuses on hunger and social justice issues related to food production and distribution; this year it is on October 16th. 

But, this year is the first for National Food Day which is being held on October 24th.  It is being spearheaded by CSPI, and the advisory board includes folks like Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Barry Popkin, and Alice Waters.  

The 6 National Food Day Principles are :

  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  2. Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  4. Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
  5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

Several of those are directly related to helping children have healthier food, especially #1 and #5.  So, sounds like a great idea, right?

The PTA at our local elementary school, the school were all my girls attend 1st grade, is getting more focused on helping create a healthier school.  So, in addition to the fundraising Jog-a-thon that we have every year about this time, we have decided to celebrate Food Day this year.  Our plans are to:

Make a short presentation at the Morning Assembly on Monday, Oct 24th

  • Introduce the Food Day event, explain that they will be tasting fresh fruits and veggies today, some familiar and some maybe not.
  • Show a short video clip about healthy foods, probably one of the ones from the FoodPlay website.
  • Have a teacher taste some fresh fruits and veggies, possibly while blindfolded.

Continue with an In-class Fruit & Vegetable Tasting

  • During regular snack time for each grade, the tasting will take place in the classroom.
  • Offer 2-3 vegetables and 2-3 fruits for tasting (prefer local if possible, and in season).
  • Include whole fruits and vegetables for demonstration, as well as cut up ones for tasting, so children can see what the whole food looks like.
  • Invite a mentor from the community to come talk to each class for about 10 minutes while the kids are tasting.
  • Ask mentors to talk about advantages of eating fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables. Mentors can talk about their role in food production and distribution.
  • Possible mentors include: Farmers, Master Gardeners, Produce Manager from a grocery store, Representative of the Farmer’s Market or local Food co-op, Extension Agent, or a Botanist

Follow up to Food Day will include putting a sheet of kid-friendly recipes for fruit and veggie dishes that kids can make with their parents in the weekly folder.  We also plan to include one such recipe a month in the PTA newsletter.

We have a very interested group of parents and teachers that are helping with the planning and the administration is supportive.  The principal said that he is in favor of any program that encourages kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.  🙂  We have also gotten some support from local stores in providing the produce.

Is your school introducing or expanding on healthy lifestyle programs?  If so, what are they and how successful have you been? 

How may of you are celebrating National Food Day this year?  It is not just an event for kids, in fact, many of the principles are really only something that adults can do anything about. 

– Stacey

P.S.  As a bonus, the Food Day group had created a free Food Day recipe booklet featuring recipes from Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Ellie Krieger, Nina Simonds, and other top chefs and cooking authorities.  Check it out!

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