The nutrition education component of Eatiquette, called Culinary Classroom, gives students the opportunity to get hands-on with their food. This month’s lesson revolves around a kale, squash, and chicken quesadilla.Maddy Booth, assistant program coordinator, says the focus is on seasonal ingredients and the explanation that in-season vegetables are your body’s best bet for getting optimal antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Booth gets the kids excited about kale by boasting its many benefits, including strong bones and healthy teeth.
“The kids loved eating the kale raw, some trying it for the very first time!” Maddy says. “And, strangely enough, we’ve experienced that the kids love eating the stems, even though our recipe specifies discarding them. Perhaps it’s the novelty, but the fact that kids are scarfing down kale is quite an achievement!”
Program manager Carla Norelli says that the recipe has been a hit because many students are already familiar with the kid-friendly quesadilla.
“We have been able to broaden their concept of a quesadilla by suggesting that they add vegetables to it and substitute fat-free Greek yogurt for sour cream to help make their at-home versions healthier,” Carla explains.
“All of the kids have been very excited to have us there,” says Maddy. “And it’s certainly a highlight for our chefs, who spend most of their time in the kitchen making these recipes, to actually interact with students.”