Mamadou Diarra scoops cookie dough onto a baking sheet at Kent elementary school.

Learning to love super foods in Fraser Valley schools

Volunteers at Kent and Harrison elementary schools are helping expose children to healthier options

Creating a delicious snack from nutritious ingredients is an art form, mixed with a dash of chemistry and a pinch of good luck.

But it’s also a skill that not everyone has mastered, thanks in part to an influx of pre-packaged treats and meals so readily available.

But some students at Kent and Harrison Hot Springs elementary schools have been learning how to roll up their sleeves, and dive into a healthier diet.

At Kent last week, that meant creating a fresh batch of Super Food Cookies — made with local eggs, local flour, chia seeds, flax and dark chocolate.

They measured the flour, and mixed the eggs. They scooped the butter and scraped the bowls.

But most importantly, they learned a few things about healthy eating. The class is led by two volunteers from the community, Miel Bernstein and Carmen Swaine.

Both are trained culinary experts, and mothers, who decided to go into local schools as a way to introduce children to healthier food options. They have visited Harrison elementary regularly, and have just started visiting Kent elementary.

On Friday morning, Bernstein brought in a few different types of flour for the kids to smell, commercial flour and fresh local flour.

“But how different could the two smell?” the kids wondered.

The answer: Very different. While the commercial flour had a stale, “off” smell, the fresh ground flour filled the room with the smell of warm, baked bread.

And while not all the kids appreciated the difference — and some even preferred the familiar smell of commercial flour — the idea behind the program is simply to introduce healthier options. And Bertnstein and Swaine’s hope is that with enough exposure to these foods, they’ll eventually chose healthier options.

“Our thought is you plant the seed with the kids,” Swaine said.

But there is no budget for the program, and it runs entirely on donations from the community and the two women’s pantries. They’ve had donations come in from bumper crops, and even the wheat they used in their Super Food Cookies came from one of the school’s teacher’s local farms.

They are hoping for more donations to come, in the form of cash to buy healthy ingredients, or for equipment that could be used.

For the cookies, they used the donated wheat, and a brand new mixing stand donated by a parent.

As the kids sat a roundtable in the hallway, waiting for their cookies to bake, they talked about other healthy snack options.

They learned that a good mix of coloured vegetables and fruits will offer up many of the vitamins their bodies need in a day. They learned that not all fat is bad fat, and almonds and other nuts are a good source of healthy fats.

But they also learned about super foods, a lesson that many Canadians are starting to pay attention to, as well.

Things like blueberries that provide antioxidants are super foods.

And the cookies they just made, that were just about ready, were filled with super foods — three of them.

Chia seeds, flax seeds and even the dark chocolate, all have health benefits and are easy to put into things like cookies, muffins, and even smoothies.

So, did the kids like their Super Food Cookies? On this day, not so much.

While a couple gobbled their cookies up, the others pushed the cookies around their plates, unsure of what to do with them. It turns out something wasn’t measured right, somewhere along the way.

But that’s all part of the learning, a part of science, and all part of mastering the culinary arts.

news@ahobserver.com

 

 

Just Posted

Trial dates set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Lawyers for the accused appeared in Kelowna at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

Abbotsford council OKs bus-to-SkyTrain plan

Fraser Valley Express would begin running to Lougheed Station by start of 2021

Chilliwack community group gathering to benefit youth health centre

Chilliwack Citizens for Change planning tailgate party for CHYC

PET CARE: Canada Day tips for our pet’s anxiety

Columnist Nicolette Joosting examines different ways to help your pets relax through the celebration

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Grey-haired bank robber hit with dye pack in Langley heist

Police are looking for an older man who may be stained with dye

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

New Lower Mainland bistro caters to board game fans and families

Local food and games at every table is the formula for the new business

Most Read