Nutrition Lessons at my kids school part 4
Today was my final class at my 5-year old’s school where I went in to teach three groups of Kindergarteners about healthy eating. If you have been following my blog, you know that our first class was all about whole grains, the next class was fruits, the third class was veggies and today we did dips. I chose dips because I wanted to get the kids actively involved in something they could actually prepare themselves, without nearing a stove, a blender or a food processor. As with the other classes, the kids loved this one and got very excited to try new things and help out. I had one kid pass out napkins, one kid pass out bowls, and throughout the day, I had other kids helping in various places. This was key-you can’t teach a group of 5-year olds without giving them a chance to use their senses. So here’s what we made together:
Peanut Butter Dip
I sliced apples, carrots and celery and started by having some of the kids hand those out to everyone to stick a few pieces in their bowls. Then I mashed up fresh strawberries and mixed them with peanut butter and a little apple juice to loosen it up. You could also use Polaner All Fruit, which is like jelly but with no sugar or preservatives. Then I had a “strong” volunteer mix the peanut butter mixture vigorously until a nice spread was formed. We sprinkled a little cinnamon in the mix and then gave everyone a scoop to dip apples and fruit into. This was a hit and one of the three classes declared it a favorite.
Next, I passed out store-bought hummus. I would have made this myself, but the goal here was just to get the kids to try something new and again, I didn’t want to use an appliance to make it. I wanted them to see they could pick a healthy snack at the grocery store and grab it from the fridge when hungry. They dipped carrots in the hummus and loved it. Many kids had never tried this before and liked it. I was really happy about that because I wasn’t sure if I’d get any takers!
I couldn’t find tomato pesto in my grocery store so I varied this recipe a bit. I had one of the kids dump a container of ricotta cheese into a bowl, then I had another kid squeeze 1/2 tube of tomato paste into the bowl and another kid squeeze 1/2 tube of basil pesto into the bowl. They loved smelling the basil pesto and had fun mixing it all together. We opened a bag of baked pita chips and dipped away. This was a favorite of one of the classes as well.
Celery and Cream Cheese
Not really a dip, but you know the old celery and cream cheese trick. This time I used the leftover Polaner and spread a little cream cheese and then a little Polaner on the celery sticks for a quickie snack. You could dot these with walnuts or raisins as well.
Another table made this dip, which was quick and easy. They dumped a jar of mild salsa into a bowl and about a cup of sour cream. I had them dip veggies into this dip, but they also tried baked chips, which they loved. This was one of their least favorite dips, only because it seems many kids find salsa, even mild salsa, a bit too spicy for them. I think kids are still sensitive to strong flavors.
In the end, the Peanut Butter dip and the Pizza dip were the winners, but the kids had alot of fun and many tried foods they had never tried before, which is really one of the main goals of this exercise.
As a side note, each of the teachers have taken these classes to the next level. Mrs. R had each kid draw their own bowl of “vegetable soup” where they choose the ingredients that they would like to put into their soup bowls. So hanging on the wall of her classroom were each kid’s bowl with the words and images of the healthy veggies that they would put into their soup. I love it because it is allowing them to think about these foods and imagine how they could turn it into an enjoyable dish.
Mrs. I’s class sings me a song called “Nutrition” every time I enter the room and these guys made a poster of “good foods” and a poster of “yucky foods” where they clipped out pictures from magazines of foods that fall into either category. I loved this because it got the kids to look around in their environment and recognize the difference between healthy foods and junk foods.
Each kid promised me they would try a new veggie so the next time I go in there, hopefully I will hear that they kept their word. So far, these guys are doing really well!