Cooking in the Classroom

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Today I had the pleasure of attending a teacher workshop called "Cooking in the Classroom" put on by LA Unified's Nutrition Network. It was great fun. The instructors showed the teachers how to make 3 easy recipes during class time using produce in season.

The LAUSD Nutrition Network has a program called Harvest of the Month where they send boxes of produce in season to classroom teachers to use in their lesson plans. So for this particular workshop the instructors made recipes using produce that has already been or will be highlighted in the coming months: jicama, salsa kit and corn.

Not only do the instructors demo how to make the recipes but they also share tips on how they can link the cooking lesson to the core curriculum. This way they teach kids and about fruits and vegetables while meeting their teaching requirements. It's a win win.

For example you can do all sorts of math problems using produce. Cutting up a whole jicama helps illustrate fractions (i.e. cut it into 4 pieces, so 1 piece is a 1/4, then cut that into 4 pieces to make 1/16 and so on). All the corn kernels on a cob lend themselves perfectly to multiplication; count how many rows of kernels and multiply by how many kernels in each row. Any kind of produce can be connected to social studies and geography: where does it originate? Where is it grown now? What peoples first ate this produce and how? (I.e. corn - North American Indians, salsa and jicama - Mexican-American history). And of course food and nutrition can always fit in nicely with science lessons. You can teach about anything from basic nutrients to chemical changes the fruit or vegetable undergoes when cooked or otherwise prepared.

In case you were wonder the instructors did demo knife safety, heat safety (they had a plug in skillet.. very cool) and proper sanitation. (Even these can be linked to corec curriculum).

The three recipes were Creamed Corn, Salsa and Lime-Cilantro Corn. They were all yummy yummy. I'll work on posting them for Recipe of the Week.

Have a fruit and veggie filled day!
(Photos courtesy of LadyPhoenixx_1999, Dr Momentum, and igb)
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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