Tips for Cooking at School
Tip 1: Choose recipes that include a variety of wholesome ingredients
Aim to include these ingredients:
- Vegetables or fruit – local if possible, but frozen or canned work in a pinch too!
- Whole grain or whole wheat ingredients (e.g., flour, breads, pasta)
- Meat alternatives such as beans, lentils, legumes or tofu. Including these foods is inclusive of students who do not eat meat, and exposes other students to new foods
And avoid these ingredients:
- Lard, shortening or processed meats such as deli meats or bacon
- Foods that are prohibited in your school due to allergies (e.g., nuts)
Tip 2: Keep it simple
- Are the recipe ingredients reasonably priced and easily found at any major grocery store? (e.g., no specialty, expensive or hard to find ingredients)
- Can the whole recipe be completed within 60 minutes or less?
- Does the recipe include healthy cooking methods? (e.g., sauteing vs deep frying)
- Are the instructions clear and easy to follow? Could you cook this recipe?
- Does the recipe use basic kitchen equipment? (e.g., bowls, measuring spoons, knife)
- Is the recipe flexible so students can substitute ingredients based on season, availability, price and their personal tastes and needs?
Tip 3: Make it even better!
Include recipes that celebrate vegetables and fruit during their local growing season. These are usually cheaper and by far taste so much fresher and sweeter than their canned or frozen counterparts. Many of us could boost our vegetable and fruit intake and one way of encouraging more of these is to be creative in making dishes that showcase their unique and delicious tastes.
Tip 4: Keep it safe
Review Be Food Safe and remember to follow the advice under clean, separate, cook and chill. Safety rules should be reviewed and reinforced with your group. Keeping a first aid kit on hand is a good idea.
Tip 5: Serve and enjoy
Allow time for the group to sit down and enjoy the food they have cooked together. Eating together is an important part of good nutrition, and talking about how things taste and what the cooking experience was like helps to complete the learning experience. It is important not to pressure anyone to try something if they do not want to. Focus on the positive aspects of the experience such learning a new skill or using new ingredients.