October 27th, 2010

From Bronx.org

I just read an article about a cool project in action in some American schools: cooking healthy food from scratch and banning fast food items from the lunch menu.

We have seen it before

That initiative was seen years ago in England with Jamie Oliver when he took over a small town and reformed the lunches.

Jamie argued, though, that to win this battle it would be necessary to veto certain lunches from home. The efforts to prepare a healthy lunch are useless if children bring goldfish and twinkies in their lunchboxes. That means parents and the community must be involved in the project to assure its success.

What “Chefs move to schools” is doing

In that front, the “Chefs move to schools” initiative described in the article brings an important layer to the table: in addition to the presence of gourmet chefs in the school cafeteria, schools are offering cooking lessons for the children after school, and also for the parents, helping these families find ways to eat healthily within a budget.

I think it could be easier

Apparently, some chefs – the article cites Telepan – are using their knowledge and talents to awaken children’s taste buds to the new flavors. However, one of the school chefs had the idea of serving steamed spinach right in the first week. I love spinach, but I have been eating it since the day I could eat solid foods. I believe that children who did not have such luck would be more likely to accept changes if they were not so contrasting. For example, start by offering oven-fried zucchini sticks, which would resemble french fries, but bring more vitamins, a different texture and flavor. Or bring something familiar, like broccoli, but steam it slightly to bring out its flavor, and – why not – add some garlic to enrich it.

There is just so much to introduce, and there are so many interesting, appealing ways to prepare the healthiest of vegetables, I think it is somewhat naive to expect children to just embark on the adventure of trying wilted leaves when they were used to fluffy white bread.

Here’s to the future!

All in all, I still love the initiative, and I am glad something is being done in some schools to improve health and habits. I really, really hope this becomes a national movement soon.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 11:57 pm and is filed under Cooking with Children, Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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