Seems like only yesterday my brothers and I were planning a surprise anniversary dinner for Mum & Dad. We’d make up a menu, set the table beautifully then serve them up a stunning 3 Course meal (well we thought it was anyway). Our parents always looked delighted at the effort we had gone to put on such a spread!
Reminiscing about such occasions we arrived at our Term 2 theme – ‘3 Course Meals’. This term our LittleCooks have prepared several Entrées, Mains and Desserts and have learned how to set a table properly!
Recently, my oldest son Samuel and his friend Stefan were on ‘Sticky TV’, competing in the Sticky Diner Competition. Their challenge was to prepare a 3-Course meal for 9 people with 30 minutes for the Entrée, 1 hour for the Main and 45 minutes for the Dessert! Let’s not overlook the 20 minutes for shopping and a budget of $150.00. The boys came a long way, made it happen, and did a marvellous job. Needless to say I am a very proud Mum. Check out the gorgeous lads below.
So with the holidays coming up, what better way to get the kids in the kitchen with a ‘3 Course Meal’ challenge in preparation for your next Anniversary dinner!
Here is a snapshot of the 3 course themes we have covered this term. (If you would like a copy of any of these recipes drop us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
THEME – Italian
A little bit of time in the kitchen can make all the difference. My daughter started complaining about having the SAME ham and cheese and mustard sandwich each day in her lunch box. Every morning, she’d make it herself, but only complained that she didn’t like it a few weeks later!
Hmmmm… I looked through my cookbooks and handed her one about kids lunchboxes. I let HER look through it – as she’s now 10 and highly capable of making a decision about her lunch AND making it herself. She chose a tuna wrap! So – that day I bought the ingredients, and that night she made the tuna salad:
Put in a bowl:
1/3 cup mayo
1 can tuna – drained
¼ cup corn – drained
sprinkle of salt and pepper
1 tsp mustard
¼ green capsicum diced
Mix them together and feel free to add other things like: pickles, sun dried tomato, herbs, scallions…
Spread the mixture down the center of a wrap with lettuce and cheese, fold up the bottom, then roll and wrap with a paper towel or baking paper to keep it rolled up. Don’t forget to pop in a pc of fruit and another snack- she loves crackers…
She now comes home from school with an empty lunch box! Excellent result.
Our Nutritionist’s Perspective – Anna says…
We know that kids cooking will build self-confidence, facilitate creativity, provide sensory experiences and improve math and science skills. The benefits from a nutritional point of view are also huge and impacting.
Getting kiwi kids in the kitchen and learning the skills necessary to prepare healthy and delicious food at an early age is something that will set them up for life. It will result in less reliance on ready made meals, takeaways, processed and packaged foods (typically high fat, high sugar, high salt and low in nutrients) which is a giant positive step in the right direction as far as New Zealanders are concerned.
According to the New Zealand Health Survey 2006/2007 30% of 2-14 year olds are overweight or obese. The health implications of obesity include arthritis, a number of cancers, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, lower bone density and generally an increased mortality rate. Not to mention the detrimental psychological effects including lower self-esteem, issues around depression and decreased attention span at school.
Benefits of Kids Cooking….
Variety: Children become familiar with a greater variety of foods and because they are tasting more things regularly. They will have improved taste receptors compared to their peers and less taste for the wrong types of foods as they move into adulthood. A variety of food also ensures a range of vitamins and minerals.
Balanced Meals: Kids confident in the kitchen will have a greater understanding of how to put healthy balanced meals together and know the difference between food groups, flavours, different preparation methods etc to ensure this happens.
Lower fat: Through the use and experimentation of spices and herbs children will understand flavours and know how to season and improve taste with having to add huge amounts of fat and salt.
Appreciation for meal times: Sitting down together to eat has huge benefits as it allows for eating more slowly with less distractions meaning food is savored, and there less of a risk of overeating. It is also time for thanking the cook and to reflect on everybody’s day=Happy family time.
Your challenge for this week is to pick one new recipe to cook as a family. When next at the supermarket pick an item fruit or vegetable that you haven’t used before and include it in a recipe.
Email in your pictures!
Something magical is happening in our classes.
The most amazing thing about teaching kids to cook has been hearing the feedback from the parents. Kids are cooking with us in class and are going home motivated to do it at home! Just last week, a mother of one of our students stopped me at school to tell me that her son (age 7), with the help of his older brother, planned and made a three course meal – and to make it even more impressive, dressed the table and played musical instruments for mum and dad!!
This was their menu:
Since beginning LittleCooks, we’ve heard heaps of stories like this and are so proud of our kids. Even my own children have come a long way – my son (age 7) now won’t take no for an answer when asking to help cook! Being a lazy mother is no longer an option. But I have to say – I am secretly ecstatic that both my kids want to get in the kitchen. The pride on their faces is worth the messy clean up at the end!
What magic is happening in your kitchen? Let us know!