iCook Session #1

After months of planning, recruiting, and conducting assessments it finally came time to teach session one! We ended up filling about five of our six classes with at least four parent/child groups (also referred to as dyads). Currently, there are three interns who will be teaching the first four sessions and then the other two interns will teach the last two. Remi, Erin, and I alternated teaching the lessons by serving as either Chef, Sous Chef, or an extra helper. We were also lucky enough to have the assistance of three undergraduate students who assisted with note taking, technology, set-up, and cleaning all the dishes.

This first session was entitled “Tools of the Trade.” We covered knife safety skills, physical activity, camera/website use, and an introduction to iCook. The classes had anywhere from four to eight dyads present. This was a great learning experience for the children, parents, and even us! The kids knife skills improved greatly just from the beginning of the class to the end and the parents’ confidence in their kids abilities also greatly improved. While allowing kids (age 8-11) to use a sharp chef knife may seem like an unsafe thing to do, with the right support and monitoring from the parents the kids can accomplish cutting bananas, strawberries, apples, and even kiwi safely! We made it through the entire weekend without any cuts! You can tell which kids had prior experience and which had never even held a knife before. It was fun to work with these kids and I can’t wait to watch their skills improve over the next few months as we move through the sessions!

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4-H Camp: Fun With Food!

This past week Erin and I spent the mornings teaching classes at 4-H camp to kids from 3rd to 7th grade. The class was titled “Fun with Food.” Each day covered a nutrition lesson, an activity, and made a recipe for a healthy snack. We had ten kids in each class and taught two hour-long classes each day.

The first lesson covered MyPlate. For an activity we had the kids create their own version of MyPlate with foods they enjoy eating on a paper plate. We also played a game that involved tossing the ball to one another and quickly naming a food in the chosen food group. For example, if the category was “vegetables” then if the ball was thrown to you, you had to name a vegetable and then toss the ball to someone else. If you couldn’t name one then you were out for that round. The kids really enjoyed this because it got them moving! For a snack that day we made fruit and vegetable pizzas using whole-wheat bagel thins, low-fat cream cheese, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, and almonds.

MyPlate

MyPlate

MyPlate Drawings

Snack Line

Fruit and Vegetable Pizza

On Wednesday, we covered measuring skills and healthy drink choices. We taught the lesson by breaking up into two groups and making banana-blueberry muffins. The kids were very excited and really enjoyed helping make a recipe. We adapted the recipe found here to use whole-wheat flour instead. This lesson taught me a few very important lessons about baking with kids. The first thing I learned, is to ALWAYS have more ingredients than you need! For example, the boy who volunteered to crack the egg in my group clearly had never actually done it before; I was fooled by his confidence! He calmly grabbed the egg and slammed it on the table. I have to admit that I was not expecting that! We all laughed and helped to clean it up and luckily we happen to have just one extra egg that day! Another lesson I learned is that kids are very clumsy. Things were constantly being spilt and dropped. It was a great learning experience and a very fun week! For the activity we played a cup-stacking relay game in two teams.

The New Drink Pyramid

Muffins

Muffins

On Thursday we covered how to read a nutrition label. We discussed the important components to look for and talked about healthier options. We played a game where we had to match the nutrition label with the food item that it belonged to. This was difficult for the kids and some kids were very interested while others could care less. We also played a guessing game about how many calories and how much fat were in fast food items. The kids really enjoyed this and were shocked how many calories were in these common items. This day we fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. This recipe was so….good! I highly recommend it everyone! We baked our chips in a muffin pan (because we forgot the baking sheets) but they turned out wonderful!

Food Label Reference Guide
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/wmthompson/nutrition-facts-presentation&#8221; title=”Nutrition facts presentation” target=”_blank”>Nutrition facts presentation</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/wmthompson&#8221; target=”_blank”>Wendy Thompson</a></strong> </div>

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips - Click for Recipe

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips – Click for Recipe

Friday’s lesson covered basic food safety tips and how to make healthy meals from common leftover items in the fridge. We created a print out of a fridge stocked with food and had the kids pick food items and explain how they would assemble them into a meal that followed the MyPlate guidelines. This gave us the opportunity to discuss how to select healthier options such as milk selection, beverage selection (100% juice vs. juice cocktail), and got them thinking creatively. This day we had the kids create their own smoothies. We offered ingredients such as: strawberries, pineapple, milk, orange juice, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and cucumbers. Surprisingly enough, many kids actually included many of the vegetables in their smoothies and really liked it!

Leftovers Game

Overall this experience was a great learning lesson and I had a blast teaching the kids. In two weeks we will have the opportunity to teach day camp for the younger children!