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Monday, May 11, 2015

Garfield Wellness Day "Kids Cooking" - Healthy Snack, Smoothie, and Pizza


All is well at Garfield Upper Elementary
Meta Newell West

It was readily apparent that all is well at Garfield Upper Elementary School. As a matter of fact, wellness dominated the day for local fourth and fifth grade students on May 9, 2015.

During Wellness Day, students traveled from classroom to classroom, listening to and participating in workshops provided by guest presenters; topics ranged from dental hygiene, fitness, nutrition, hand hygiene, healthy snacking, to typical field day events.
YUM – A group of Garfield fifth-graders enjoy a healthy snack break.

What did the students think about the day’s activities? Abigail D., a fifth grader, appreciated the hand washing tips and mentioned she was amazed how many germs were on hands. Kolten C. and Haily R., both fifth graders, noted the importance of brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Elisiya R., also a fifth grader, enjoyed the fitness events and pointed out that the outdoor hurdle activity was her favorite.

Amanda Hoover RN, BSN, Garfield School Nurse, Dallas Meneley, Garfield Principal, and Troy Emig, Garfield Physical Education Teacher, coordinated the day’s events. Designed to help students understand the importance of whole body wellness, activities also pointed out how to live a healthy, well-balanced life. By supporting student wellness, good nutrition, and regular physical activity as part of the total learning environment, Garfield’s Wellness Day fits right in with USD 435’s healthy school plan.

PIZZA MAKING – A Garfield fifth-grader practices proper knife skills as she cuts English muffin pizzas into bite-sized pieces to share with her classmates.

On a personal note, it was an interesting experience for me to be back in the classroom doing what I most enjoy—food preparation! My workshop topic: Quick and Nutritious After School Snacks. With the help of several eager fifth-grade helpers, we managed to prepare and sample the recipes that follow. Both are what I’d term “creative recipes” in that the ingredients can be adjusted and substituted. Students had all sorts of suggestions: Pizza‑—add cooked chicken or ground beef to increase the protein content; add vegetables such as black olives, sliced mushrooms or chopped peppers, or create a Hawaiian pizza by adding chopped ham and pineapple. Smoothies—add strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or just about any fruit; use chocolate or even strawberry milk or use part fruit juice and part milk.
  1. SMOOTHIE PREP – Following a basic recipe, this Garfield fifth-grader pours milk into a blender as he prepares a nutritious chocolate smoothie.
And, I must mention that I was impressed with the Garfield students. They were polite, helpful, followed directions and were attentive. It seems it was a good day for both students and presenters, too.

Fast & Easy English Muffin Pizzas  Makes 8 mini pizzas
Prep: about 10 min.; Bake: 10 min.
Tools/Equipment: Toaster oven or regular oven, baking sheet, pot holder(s), cutting board & knife, measuring cups (½ cup + 1 cup), silicon scraper or spoon, foil

   4 whole wheat English muffins, split
   About ½ cup canned pizza sauce (or make your own by adding Italian seasoning to
   tomato sauce
   1 to 2 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
Step-by-Step Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover the baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.
  2. Place the English muffin halves cut side up onto a baking sheet.
  3. Spoon some of the pizza sauce onto each one.
  4. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is melted and browned on the edges.
Variation: Top mozzarella cheese with slices of pepperoni (look for low-fat varieties for a healthier snack)

Chocolate Smoothie    2 servings
Prep: 10 min. or less
Tools/Equipment: Blender or NutriBullet, set of dry measuring spoons & cups, measuring cup for liquids

   3 to 4 tablespoons quick-cook or old-fashioned oats (not cooked)
   2 cups+ milk (almond or soy milk can also be used)
   About ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
   1 teaspoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
   About ¼ cup sweetened yogurt
   1 banana
   A heaping handful of ice
   Honey, agave syrup or sugar to taste

Step-by-Step Preparation
  1. Add the oats to the bottom of a blender or NutriBullet. Pour in enough milk to cover and let oats soak as you assemble the rest of the smoothie. (If you don’t have a blender that will grind and pulverize, you may need to let the oats soak a little longer.)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sweetner, and then add the remaining milk (add to the Max line on the NutriBullet).
  3. Taste and add honey, agave or sugar if needed. Note – as bananas age (and develop black spots) they become sweeter . . . so less sweetener is needed with older bananas.

Of course, we covered kitchen safety and sanitation tips:
  • Wash you your hands before beginning and as you finish a task.
  • Use a cutting board when cutting, hold knife blade downward and always keep fingers away from the blade.
  • If using equipment and appliances for the first time, check with an adult about proper usage.
  • Use pot holders when baking.
  • Make sure hands are dry when plugging in or unplugging electrical equipment.
  • Use measuring cups and spoons when measuring dry ingredients (and make sure they are dried off if they are wet).
  • Use liquid measuring cups for liquids in order to obtain an accurate measure and to avoid overflows.
  • Be sure to clean up after yourself and put all supplies away.

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