Students have a hand in healthy cooking
Marc Valero | Highlands TodaySEBRING - Sebring Middle School sixth-grader Kadi Ealy had never heard of bulgur wheat, but with the help of the school's cafeteria staff, she and her classmates had a hand in preparing a healthy recipe featuring the whole grain.
Published: October 22, 2012
Published: October 22, 2012
District Food Service Director Martha Brown handed out hair nets to the students Friday as they entered the school's cafeteria to tackle the preparation.
After they put on latex gloves, the students were ready to mix the ingredients of an award-winning recipe.
This all started a couple of weeks ago during a classroom discussion on topics in the news.
The advanced math students in co-teachers Diane Morse's and Christine Hagen's seventh- and eighth-period classes talked about the first-ever "Kid's State Dinner" at the White House, which was held in August. The 54 winners, 8- to 12-year-olds from "The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge," a nationwide recipe contest, attended the event.
The recipe challenge was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let's Move! campaign.
The Sebring Middle students were making one of those award-winning healthy recipes, called "Triple F": Fake Fast Food, which is made with bulgur wheat, lean ground beef, a melting cheese and a few vegetables, such as spinach, red bell peppers and onions.
In the kitchen, Brown asked the students if they knew what bulgur wheat was.
"No," they replied.
Brown said it's a whole grain, which is one of the things they should be eating more of because it's healthy and it helps with the digestive system.
"We eat too much processed stuff, so we need to eat more whole grains so that we have a better digestive tract," she said.
After more tips on the recipe's healthy ingredients, Brown told the students to mix it all in a large bowl.
"Let's do it like real food service people and get your hands in there," she said.
Then the students followed the instructions to evenly spread the mixture, so it cooks evenly, in a greased baking pan.
While the casserole baked for 35 minutes, Brown asked the students how they liked the healthy changes in the school lunches.
She asked if they tried the collard greens.
The number of "yes" and "no" responses were about an equal.
Then Brown asked, "Did you like the collard greens?"
Most of the students said, "No."
Brown asked if there was anything they were seeing less of at lunch.
"Regular fries," a girl said.
Ealy told Highlands Today she has been seeing more vegetables and fruits at lunchtime.
"I ate a salad today; it was really good," she noted. "I ate an orange yesterday so I have been getting more vitamins and I am feeling better."
It seems for Ealy that the texture of the food is as important as the taste.
She likes raw broccoli and carrots because they are crunchy. She doesn't like collard greens because they are squishy.
At home, she cooks chicken, but eats unhealthy things sometimes like fried foods, Ealy said.
What about making today's recipe?
"It was fun, but the meat was all squishy," Ealy said.
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