By: Chef Monica Watson BistroKids*
Every month at SMJCS , as part of Bistro Kids Farm to School Lunch program, we have a “featured food or food group” February is grain month. In addition to preparing lunches from scratch here on site, I teach the culinary education classes and work with the kids in our school garden. (We’ve just finished planting our seeds for the upcoming growing season). the importance of eating whole, organic and healthy food!
During grain month we made this Chocolate Quinoa Cake. One of the things I try to do is create healthier versions of the foods they already love (hence the chocolate cake!) as well as recipes that are kid favorites that parents can easily prepare for or with their kids at home. This was a special treat for the kids with the addition of the quinoa making it healthier and perfect for Passover!
The cake is not an original recipe of Bistro Kids…I did modify it somewhat from a version in “Quinoa 365”. Other months have featured broccoli, pumpkin and even honey. Our goal is to “feature” foods prepared in different ways in an effort to get the children to try them and explore new ways of eating something they may have thought they disliked. Believe it or not at SMJCS, broccoli is as popular as chocolate cake!
Bistro Kids makes healthy fun. We teach from seed to soil, pan to plate. It is a process but they learn what making healthy choices means. That knowledge hopefully takes root and grows!
Research shows that homegrown, whole foods positively impact performance in school, attendance, even behavior. That’s why Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School will have a farm-to-table lunch program, and serve only the healthiest locally sourced or organic foods. “Planting the veggies we eat for lunch is as locally grown as it gets,” says Tamar Lerner, a fifth grade student. Each class will be responsible for planting and then harvesting a different vegetable for the garden.
The school contracts with Bistro Kids for their lunch program. Chef Monica Watson prepares the school lunches from scratch using only locally sourced, organic, all natural foods — including carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, kale and herbs that students have planted in the school garden. Only hormone free and antibiotic-free milk is served. Washable lunch trays are used, and students compost their waste for the garden. In addition to feeding students, the program provides an educational component: visits from farmers who teach students how produce transforms from seed to table; chefs who guide students and parents in hands-on cooking classes; and lessons in nutrition and healthy food choices.
“The program aligns perfectly with our values,” says Cheryl Maayan, head of school. “Our students will grow up with the knowledge that everyday decisions —choosing milk at the store, for example—are not just fiscal decisions. They are decisions that impact everything from their bodies to the economy to the earth’s atmosphere.”
To read more and get two new delicious Passover recipes, click the following link: http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/page.aspx?id=253109