Food Exploration at PCA

Students at PCA have been enjoying a four-week Kaleidoscope course in food selection, preparation and general nutrition.  Instructor Charlotte Walker, Registered Dietitian, guided a group of first through fourth graders in the after school sessions that featured a new food weekly.

Ms. Walker who obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from UNH has been working in the Seacoast for the past several years. She has worked for organizations as a researcher and purchaser of natural foods from local and sustainable food companies in New England. She is dedicated to teaching children about sustainable agriculture practices and seasonal eating. Her focus is working with participants (of her workshops) to develop cooking skills and instill a passion for fresh food at a young age.

An emphasis in the Food Explorers classes was placed on selecting food choices that are healthful, well balanced and visually appealing. As a hands-on work shop style class, the students worked as a group to produce the food as a team. Under careful supervision, students were taught how to properly use utensils and a counter-top cookstove.

Topics for an earlier winter session included classes such as:

Eat the Rainbow: Emphasis on the importance of eating a well-balanced meal and having an overall diet that is rich in colorful foods.

Sugar, Sugar: Focus on teaching participants the different forms of sugar in our diet and how our body recognizes sugar.

Food Labels: How to read them and how to convert units to more familiar measurements.

Let’s Talk Fats: Discussion of healthy fats vs. fats to limit in our diet.

Depicted in some of these recent photos are students preparing fresh quesadillas with vegetables and black beans.  Many of the students had never made a complete entrée. The students were very enthusiastic to partake in the meal prep.  Students were in charge of different prep duties such as making guacamole, chopping cilantro and sautéing peppers and onions. Each student could fix a quesadilla to his/her liking. Then Ms. Walker allowed each student to cook the quesadilla on a griddle, while she stood nearby. In previous weeks the students made homemade applesauce ,chocolate dipped fruit and turkey paninis with homemade cranberry sauce.

Kaleidoscope classes are offered throughout the year at PCA. They are varied and include sport themed classes, outdoor exploration, music, art, theatre, STEM and practical skills such as babysitting certification and food and nutrition based classes. The link to Kaleidoscope can be found on the PCA Home page.