Our longtime Conscious Kitchen Executive Chef Guillaume shares how he gets students excited about FLOSN (fresh local organic seasonal nutritious) food!
Since 2015, he has worked with Conscious Kitchen and his team of chefs to serve hundreds meals across the Sausalito Marin City School District — and has learned much along the way.
Changing how kids of any age eat begins with listening to them, getting to know their personal preferences and what they like to eat, remembering that everyone eats different foods and dishes and flavors at home and in their local community, and hiding veggies and nutrient-packed ingredients in absolutely everything!
Chef G’s top tips:
- Make nacho cheese sauce! Use garnet sweet potatoes to make it the orange color they associate with artificially-colored nacho cheese.
- Pasta shapes matter! Serve pasta the kids know and thus will eat. Changing penne to spaghetti made pasta marinara a favorite!
- Serve jelly with breakfast sandwiches! For most kids, breakfast is sweet. Adding half a teaspoon of jelly for kids to dip sandwiches can make all the difference — and parallels a popular fast food chain!
- Give food fun names! Calling fresh orange wedges “orange smiles” brings a smile to everyone’s face. “Hulk muffins” give nutrient-packed green muffins a whole new level of appeal!
- Round pizza wins! Kids think of pizza as either a round pie or a slice. Square shapes don’t appeal to them, even if freshly baked on trays, but English muffins or rolls (ideally from a local bakery!) do the trick.
- Offer all condiments on the side! Some kids like their food plain and others like it covered in sauce/BBQ/ketchup/mustard. Let them have it their way!
- Purée to make ‘refried’ beans! Refried beans are familiar to kids. Puréeing beans and vegetables is a great way to offer that familiar look and feel, while getting in the veggies of the day!
- Always fortify sauces with veggies! Whether it’s gravy or marinara sauce, adding in carrots and onions and other veggies is an easy way to add nutrients.
- Scoop out zucchinis! No one likes soggy veggies. Scooping out the middle of zucchinis before slicing into half moons and roasting ensures it has a nice crunch and appealing shape.
- Make muffins with overripe bananas and / or other fruits and veggies for extra nutrients! Kids don’t eat bananas with spots, so mash up old ones to turn would-be waste into a base for sweet banana muffins.
- Blend up smoothies with ‘ugly’ fruit! Whether it arrives slightly imperfect or browns quickly, kids too often reject ‘ugly’ produce whole. So chop it up and toss perfectly good fruit to save on money and waste!