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Curiosity, Transparency, and Inspiration = Ingredients to Healthy Food Choices for Kids

Beechers_Flagship_Foundation.jpgThis Food Day our team at Beecher’s Flagship Foundation was busy turning classrooms of 4th graders at a Kent, WA elementary school into food detectives. Our approach sparks kids’ own curiosity about what’s really in the foods they eat, empowering them with the tools they need to make healthy choices, and inspiring them to cook real foods with their families.

Each year our team of 10 instructors brings this two and a half hour, hands-on, nutrition education and cooking workshop to more than 10,000 elementary school students in the Seattle area and New York City. During our Pure Food Kids workshop, kids learn how to be savvy to food companies’ marketing tactics, how to read nutrition labels and ingredient lists, and how to cook chili together with their classmates.

Pre- and post-workshop quizzes show that students are learning about marketing, nutrition, and how to avoid harmful food additives. Parents and teachers tell us kids go home inspired to investigate foods, make healthy choices, and cook!

Here is our popular recipe for the delicious veggie chili the students cook in the classroom:

Hearty Vegetable Chili

Makes 6 one and half cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil                          
  • 1 cup chopped onion                                                      
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper                           
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper                                          
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced                                               
  • 28 oz. whole peeled tomatoes                                   
  • 1 can (15.25 oz) kidney beans                                     
  • 1 can (15.25 oz) black beans
  • 1 cup whole-kernel corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons leaf oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients: chop onion, mince garlic, chop green and red bell peppers, and measure all the spices into a small bowl.
  2. Open, drain, and rinse the beans. 
  3. Open can of whole peeled tomatoes and strain the tomatoes, keeping the juice. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.   
  4. Add oil to medium soup pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Add onion and garlic to soup pot, stir, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add green and red bell peppers to the pot and saute until tender.
  7. Add spices and stir until all the vegetables are well coated.
  8. Add the beans to soup pot and stir until they are coated with the spices.
  9. Add tomatoes and tomato juice, stir, and turn up heat to bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
  10. Add fresh or frozen corn to the soup pot and stir. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  11. Turn off heat on the soup pot, stir the chili, and garnish with cilantro before serving. Enjoy!

Customize the chili to your taste by adding meat or other veggies, turn up the heat with more spices, add cheese or other toppings

For more information about our Pure Food Kids workshop, please visit www.flagshipfoundation.org

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