Tag Archives: nutrition

Books & Cooks – Update

27 Sep

So I posted earlier this week about providing a Books & Cooks Program for my middle school students and let me tell you – it was a smashing success!  I had 12 kids registered for the program, which would have been perfect – but I ended up with 18 kids!  It was awesome and chaotic at the same time.

We talked about the idea of eating the rainbow and the kids wrote down as many different colored fruits and vegetables as they could think of – and did a great job! I then explained why each color vegetable was important to our bodies.  The kids LOVED the eat this, not that choices I gave them.  I think it really opened their eyes to marketing strategies and the importance of understanding nutrition.

Then we began to cook!  We separated the kids into three groups and made soft pretzels, popcorn over the stove with fun seasonings, and smoothies (one with spinach in it).  The kids love to eat and were really excited to cook in the kitchen.  I’m thinking that we’re going to have to do this type of program again, maybe in the winter when the kids need to get out of the house!


Books & Cooks Program

24 Sep

I am continually surprised when people I know say that they are not very adept in the kitchen.  I love to bake and cook and I even think that I’m pretty good at it!  To me, cooking is usually pretty easy – there are few things in life that give you written measurements and step-by-step directions and come out a success.  Maybe I’m more comfortable cooking because my parents expected all of us to help with dinner growing up.  We helped to plan menus, cook, and clean-up afterward and because of that, I’m not afraid to get in the kitchen and try something new.  With that in mind, I created a program for middle school students at the library to teach them a few basics recipes for delicious snacks.

Our program is tonight and I currently have about 12 middle school students signed up.  My plan for the evening is to teach the kids about healthy eating choices, make three recipes together, and also provide a few booktalks to the group with a booklist of fiction titles with a food/baking/cooking theme.

I found some great resources online about the new My Plate initiative created by the U.S. Department of  Agriculture.  I also relied heavily on the book, Eat This, Not That! For Kids! written by David Zinczenko.  This book discussed the idea of “eating the rainbow.”  We’re going to break the kids into groups and give them a worksheet with each color listed on it.  Their job is to list as many fruits and vegetables that are the color on the paper.  This should provide some great discussion amongst the group.  I also plan on giving them a list of ten different eat this choices and they will have to pick which one seems healthier to them.  I tried to find foods and restaurants that the kids are most likely to visit in our area and I hope that they will be surprised as I am about the choices that these restaurants offer.

Then we’re going to make three different recipes.  I found a simple recipe for making your own pretzels – and all the kids are going to get a chance to create their own.  Then we’ll break the kids into two groups and they can either make popcorn over the stove or fruit/vegetable smoothies.  I want them all to try a green smoothie, but there is also fruit juice, yogurt, and a variety of fruits that they can experiment with.  For the popcorn we have a number of seasonings to create an Italian seasoning popcorn, a Cinnamon & Sugar, and a Spicy flavor.

It’s great because in the building we have a “lunchroom” with a stove/oven, microwave, and a toaster oven, but if you don’t have access to these things, try a program where you can create “no bake” foods or bring in a microwave from home.  There are a number of ways to adapt this program, which makes it fun!

Hopefully the kids have a fun time learning about nutrition and making healthy choices and they get to take home a book list, some other recipes to try, and a full stomach!  If you’re interested in any of the books on the book list, or the recipes we’re trying, add a comment to this post and I’ll provide more info!

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