We design and deliver solutions for parents, schools, and organizations to improve the health of America's children. Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. is a non-profit organization working to improve health literacy and halt, reverse, and prevent childhood obesity...because failure to protect America's children from obesity-related diseases is not an option. Enjoy WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS!
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Breakfast of Wellness Champions
"We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them."
-- Michelle Obama
The kids all wanted to know what they were going to
make. I surprised them with the
announcement that the menu was all about breakfast. We had an ambitious list of 3 recipes to
create together. The kids wrote out our
class menu on the dry erase board: kale
protein shakes, French toast, and spinach omelets, all under the heading, “Breakfast
of Wellness Champions”.
Kids tend to their vertical towers at Florida Veggies and More.
Showing off the French toast!
One of the lessons kids learn from attending our
Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen classes is to use the best ingredients you
can afford to buy. Another lesson they
learn is that occasionally it is OK to have a little sweet. On this particular Saturday, both lessons
came together. The kids saw the
ingredients on the counter and their eyes got big: real maple syrup, fair trade cinnamon, real
vanilla, Greek yogurt, and fresh strawberries.
I showed them the loaf of crusty sour dough bread I purchased the day
before from La Patisserie, our new local bakery in Vero Beach which creates the
most delicious artisan breads, pastries, and desserts. The kids all wanted a taste of the bread
before we created our divine French toast.
I sliced off tiny bits for each to try.
They waited in anticipation for their first taste.
Two of the boys were given the task of slicing the
fresh strawberries. After a demonstration, one of the boys questioned my
instructions about how to cut off the top of the strawberries. He asked if he could, instead, just lop it
off with one quick slice. I took a few
minutes to explain why I wanted him to cut a very small circle around the stem
and only remove the white part of the strawberry under the stem. “Wasting food is not OK,” I explained. “Someone worked hard to grow these
strawberries. They contain lots of
vitamin C which helps keep you healthy and your immune system strong. That is why I am asking you to cut them up as
I showed you.” There were no more questions
from the strawberry team. They got to
work and did a fabulous job!
“This is a spatula.
Learn to use it correctly so that you don’t throw away part of what you
are constructing.” We cracked the eggs into a dish, added cinnamon and a little
cream. The kids all wanted to whisk the
ingredients together. The bread soaked
in the cinnamon and egg mixture while the griddle heated to the right
temperature. Each piece cooked, then I
constructed the French toast: a little
powdered sugar, vanilla Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, and a small drizzle
of real maple syrup. Their faces were
priceless as they savored each bite of breakfast heaven!
Another lesson the kids got in our class that
morning was about respect. This is something
I talk about a lot in my healthy cooking classes: respect for the farmers who grow our foods,
respect for portion sizes that help keep us at healthy weights, and respect for
the foods that create health, not disease.
All three recipes at our breakfast class were a huge
hit! In the following days, I got some unexpected
feedback which made all the preparation time beforehand and clean up time
afterward worthwhile: while shopping the
following week, I saw one of the boys, a 5th grader, with his
family. I asked him which of the three
recipes he enjoyed the most, to which he quickly replied, “The kale protein
shakes!” Another day, I received
feedback through a coworker who knew the father of another boy from the
breakfast class. Apparently, this little
boy, a 4th grader whose mother told me is an extremely picky eater,
was so excited about the spinach omelets, that he had announced to this parents
that he wanted to make spinach omelets for Thanksgiving dinner! Getting elementary age boys and girls to love
eating kale and spinach – now that is what I call success!