Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kids Cooking Class Recap - Raw Wolf Meat and other high-protein foods

Last weekend I gave a little talk and cooking demo for kiddos at our local library. It is the library of my youth and it still is a magical place in my mind.

I had a wonderful, rambunctious group of nine, 9-11 year olds. As they were trickling into the room, i offered them their pick of my apron stash, including my favorite super hero aprons. The Darth Vader Apronwent quickly.

I walked around the room to ask each kiddo their name and their favorite snack and got mostly healthy answers (oranges, apples, cucumbers) a few treats (cookies!!!!) and a few surprises (fish eyes, seaweed).

I would have to assume that most dietitians would be excellent poker players because we have to be prepared for any answer without expressing shame, disbelief, etc. I wasn't sure if he was kidding or not, so I asked how fish eyeballs tasted and he replied "not like much". I tried to google fish eyeball recipes and didn't come up with anything. He may have tricked me.

We talked about my general guidelines for snacks and they were eager to participate.
  1. Kids might need 1-2 snacks per day.
  2. Cookies and potato chips are treat snacks.
  3. We ARE allowed to have treats sometimes, just not all the time.
  4.  The best snacks include two food groups.
When we got into the discussion of pairing foods for the most nutrition, we  talked about protein foods that would be good snack choices such as a plain yogurt (add fruit + cinnamon for flavor) and hard boiled eggs. I asked what else they liked for protein foods and Mr. Fisheye piped up with "raw wolf meat".

Gosh I love their creative minds :)

Yes, indeed. If you can get your hands on raw wolf meat, that would be an excellent protein food. Any others?

Onto the cooking! I had the kids wash hands and then pick one of three stations where I had recipe cards waiting and ingredients ready. They worked together and were excited to get cooking!

The cool thing is that even if a kid thought they didn't like something, because their peers were eating it, they were more likely to try it. It wasn't a high pressure situation, we weren't forcing them, we were simply presenting with enthusiasm. For example, one of the main ingredients in the oatmeal cookie energy bites is chopped raisins. One kiddo expressed not liking raisins and I agreed that when I was her age, I didn't like them either. I said, the reason that we have raisins in this recipe is because they're sweet, and when we chop them into tiny pieces, they're sticky and hold the energy bites together. I would suggest taking a tiny piece of an energy bite to try once they're all done and see what you think. Turns out she thought they were pretty good!

Another kiddo wasn't too sure about topping popcorn with olive oil when he was used to melted butter. But, he tried it, with a sprinkle of herbs and Parmesan cheese and liked it!

Wanna get cooking with your kids? Try any of these simple snack ideas.

Real Food Ranch
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • ½  teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Place yogurt in a small bowl or storage container.

2. Add herbs and spices and mix thoroughly with a fork.

Use as a dip for fresh vegetables, as a spread for sandwiches, dressing for pasta salad, baked potato topping or thin with a bit of water to make an   excellent salad dressing.

Note: for best flavor, make ahead of time. 

Recipe adapted from WhyFoodWorks

Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup salted almond butter
1. Mix all ingredients into a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
2. Using clean hands, press dough into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
3. Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe from C&J Nutrition

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 brown paper lunch bag
Toppings: olive oil, melted butter, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan cheese, cinnamon, Mrs. Dash seasoning blends, Old Bay, hot sauce, etc.

1. Open lunch bag and pour popcorn inside.
2. Fold top of lunch bag three times using small folds. Place bag on its side in the microwave and nuke for 60-90 seconds or until most kernels are popped but nothing has burned.
3. Remove bag from microwave and open carefully to prevent getting burned by the steam. Add your favorite toppings and dig in!

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