Monday, April 26, 2010

Cooking in Kindergarten

On Friday I visited R's classroom to make individual pizzas with R's classmates. R and 3 others were chosen to help me cook, while the others "oooh-ed" and "ahhh-ed" with anticipation.

Why pizzas? Well, a couple reasons. I had 30-40 minutes to make 21 items from start to finish, using any items I could bring from home. The school's teacher's lounge oven was available, as was a hot plate, but the bulk of the cooking and preparation had to be done in the classroom, on top of those little tables, with little chairs (I love those!). In other words, I needed something simple to prepare.

I also chose pizzas to drive home the point that kids can and will eat healthy foods if you prepare them in the right we used whole wheat English Muffins for the crust, pizza sauce with great vegetables in it, a small sprinkle of low-fat mozzarella cheese, and all-natural, no-nitrate pepperoni, olives and roasted bell peppers for the toppings:

You want to know something else? By using the roasted bell peppers to make the smile on these smiley pizzas, despite many kids saying, "I don't like peppers," every last pepper was eaten. Every one (unless someone pulled a fast one on me)! Let's here it for positive peer pressure, as the first kids to eat the pizzas were telling the other kids, "they're really good!"

I felt like a mini-Jamie Oliver. Speaking of Jamie Oliver, despite Food Revolution being over, don't miss your opportunity to join in the revolution. Around a half a million folks have already signed this petition for better, healthier, natural foods in schools and to help encourage others to cook in the same manner.

Last but not least, our meals for the week:

Grilled Fish and Avocado Tacos, Refritos, Mango
Pasta Puttanesca, Roasted Asparagus
Tortellini Soup, Hummus
Calzones, 3 Bean Salad

Have a sweet week-


JerseyBaby said...

What an awesome project! You rock!

Laura said...

This is SO awesome! A few years ago, I had sent out letters to the schools asking for an opportunity to talk to them about what they were feeding the kids. The only response I got back was a very snotty one from the city school system. I think that by you taking the time to go in and show the kids good, quality food that is still familiar, you planted some seeds (ha) of good eating in their minds and perhaps a desire to try something other than Lunchables in their brown paper bag. So kudos to you!

Dr, Josh Axe said...

You ARE like Jamie Oliver! Congrats on making a positive change in the eating habits of these young ones!

julia said...

I love this post! What a great idea and so glad that the school was supportive of you. Awesome!
We just got a new oven, which I'm completely thrilled about...But then on closer look I realized that there is a "chicken nugget" setting! What in the world?!? I think that's ridiculous!
THanks for everything! Love your site!

Jean said...

With all my worries these days I wish I could go back to kindergarten doing pizzas like this. Haayyy. By the way, this self defense for women like us might interest you. Thanks and more power!

Sweet Pea Chef said...

Fearless, I am currently mulling going to our school principal to talk food...need to plan my approach. :)

Mary Ann Dames - Reading, Writing, and Recipes said...

Mini-pizzas. Good for you. Cooking at school brought back memories. I'm a registered dietitian and taught cooking and nutrition every week for my son's and daughter's first and second grade classes. Yikes! That was 4 years worth of lessons with only a hot plate and a tabletop oven. I had fun and I like to think the kids did, too. Although I wasn't changing the system, I impacted about 100 kids and their families over the four years. I'll take that as a good beginning.

Jennifer said...

These mini-pizzas look delicious! It’s wonderful you are getting kids to think about healthy eating and cooking at school. I work for Healthy Mondays, and we just launched a program that will continue the lesson at home. The Kids Cook Monday program encourages parents to cook healthful meals with their kids. We’re looking for bloggers to post stories, recipes, ideas, or whatever other things they think will help their readers start the week off healthfully with a home-cooked, kid-approved meal.

If you’re interested in participating, please email me at jenbrite (at) gmail (dot) com.

Aika said...

This is a wonderful initiative and what a fun way to learn about healthy eating and cooking at school. Keep this up!