After a summer of parent and teacher debates about how unrealistic new Smart Snack in-school food guidelines are, let me be frank. Maybe students would LIKE to roll up their sleeves and actively avoid obesity…by getting in kitchens at home, in classrooms and out-of-school programs.
Smart Snacks makes me think of at least five reasons to engage our students with learning how to prepare their own food.
#5: Baking and cooking burns more calories than opening food wrappers.
(It’s active.) Preparing food for yourself makes them doubly “smart snacks.”
#4: Food made from locally purchased ingredients supports local businesses.
Calculate recipe costs and compare with the same net weight of a ready-to-eat product.
#3: Young people actually eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and often less sodium, fat and sugar when they prepare foods.
#2: Everyday math.
Teach ingredient weights (metric and English); calculate a recipe’s baked net weight, serving size weight; apply weights to calculate percentage of sugar, fat, and protein. Create product names and food labels for recipes. Need analysis software?
#1: Improved literacy and science ease.
Read recipes, research ingredients and their functions and apply test kitchen methods to create and test recipes.
Mrs. Obama’s zeal for teaching food preparation skills to children is spot-on. What she needs to know: there are 25,000+ Family & Consumer Sciences classroom and extension educators, and dietitians currently teaching in schools and communities who’d love the funds to expand education.
To Do List: