Since January, 300 children from Union Pleasant Elementary School, Hamburg Middle School and Armor Elementary were able to take part in either healthy classroom food tastings or culinary field trips to beHealthy Institute sponsored by Seeds of Living Education.
LESSONS LEARNED: Children are willing and happy to munch on fresh and crunchy veggie snacks all times of the day. They like to eat them with many different types of dips -- Organic Hidden Valley Ranch is always a big hit. Freshly prepared white bean dip is also a great dipping option. It is full of protein and fiber and made just a little bit zippy with a touch of cayenne and cumin. Guacamole is a nutritious alternative, too. It is full of that good monounsaturated fat that can help aid in lowering the "bad cholesterol." Also, garden fresh salsa is an excellent option to make or buy ready prepared. It has lots of tomatoes, onions, garlic and cilantro with just a hint of lemon juice and cayenne. All of these dips and many, many more can be served with fresh sliced, diced and julienned veggies. Children of all ages have proven to us that they will munch and crunch on veggies (including RAW ASPARAGUS!) all times of the day.
We gratefully acknowledge the generous contribution of the Makers of Hidden Valley Ranch to The Giving Garden and Seeds of Living Education this year. Their support has made it possible to help our school community garden continue to grow and flourish and to sponsor all of the healthy veggie and food classroom tastings.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
SOLE and beHealthy Institute hosted our final classroom field trip of 40 second graders for this school year 2010-11. These students sampled garden fresh salad and veggies with a choice of 3 different salsas and dips. The students were split into 5 groups and each participated in a culinary experience. We made sweet and creamy guacamole, garden fresh salsa, zippy white bean dip and luscious mango smoothies. There was plenty of fresh cut veggies on hand for dipping, as well as some organic blue chips. The students were engaged and actively participating in the fresh food experience. The Giving Garden provided some of the produce used, including just-picked romaine lettuce for dipping, cilantro for the salsa and guacamole and strawberries for "dessert."
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Ms. Lango's first grade class visited beHealthy Institute to make healthy veggie smile face pizzas. The students topped their pizza dough with tomato sauce, cheese and a vegetable medley of sweet bell peppers, broccoli, black olives, grape tomatoes and fresh spinach harvested from The Giving Garden. They also added Organic Hidden Valley Ranch "mustaches, beards, and eyebrows" to decorate their pizzas. While their pizzas were baking they listened to a story about Little Pea who did not always like to eat his dinner of candy before he had his favorite dessert -- SPINACH!
Monday, June 6, 2011
The Giving Garden is nearly fully planted thanks to all the loving care of many of our student gardeners, Union Pleasant Garden Club, and adult volunteers. The cool weather crops, like leaf lettuce, watermelon radishes and rainbow carrots have been planted and some are ready to harvest. Our warm weather veggies for all of our multi-cultural beds -- Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Italian -- along with the Love Your Veggies Great Veggie Adventure beds are planted and growing! Take a look at the garden and get inspired!
One of our kindergarten classes that recently visited beHealthy for a tasting field trip dropped of thank you notes. They were beautifully made and very heartfelt. One depicted a little girl in a sugar snap pea canoe ... the children absolutely devour the sugar snap peas - full of crunch and sweetness, perfect for little munchers.
First grade students learn about local veggies and their nutritional goodness during a trip to beHealthy Institute. One such veggie growing now in Western New York is asparagus. Asparagus is crispy and sweet and tastes great plain or dipped in organic Hidden Valley Ranch. The Giving Garden has a full asparagus forest in bloom right now!
One morning during "Walk Across America," my son's school's campaign to get children (and adults) engaging in physical activity every morning for 3 months during the spring before classes begin, a little girl exclaimed to me, "I eat healthy. I eat my veggies. I LOVE my veggies!" I recognized that she was one of the kindergartners who had recently joined us a beHealthy Institute with her class for a field trip to taste fresh and crunchy raw veggies. She took hold of my hand and walked with me telling me how many veggies she loves to eat. As a mom, I could not imagine a better moment! These are just the kind of encounters that make The Giving Garden, The Great Veggie Adventure and my work with Seeds of Living Education so meaningful.
BeHealthy and Seeds of Living Education today welcomed 35 1st graders to share in the love of veggies! After reading a story about a city that was transformed from a dreary and bleak place to a city covered with beautiful gardens thanks to one enthusiastic gardener, Liam, the students tasted many different types of veggies. Many parents joined us and were thrilled to see their children trying new healthy vegetables like sugar snap peas, purple asparagus, broccoli, and sweet peppers dipped in organic Hidden Valley Ranch. One mom remarked, "My son now likes broccoli!" The students also tasted refreshing mango smoothie.