I was initiated into the world of food activism in 1990. The flowerchild within (I was born a decade too late for the original action) got her ya-ya’s out when I got to march on 10 Downing Street in 1990 alongside Pamela Stephenson, Olivia Harrison, Barbara Bach, and many other celebrity moms with Parents for Safe Foods. Shockingly, much of the food industry and it’s practices have gone from bad to worse since then, but there have been no shortage of people like Michael Pollan and Jamie Oliver trying to make a stand. People are finally becoming aware and willing to question what their children are eating. According to Suzanne V., one of my website members, Prince George’s County School District in Maryland has taken notice. Let’s hope the reaction is contagious, and this becomes the norm across the country.
When Suzanne and her husband attended their son’s kindergarten orientation for the upcoming school year, “I was thrilled to learn that the school breakfast (yeah, breakfast too!) and lunches are created by a full time executive chef, a trainer, a full time registered dietitian and an agricultural director for the county. They use as much local produce as possible. Of course it does help that the school is about 15 minutes from the US Department Agricultural Research Center, nine miles from the White House, and they have a farmers market. Vendors, suppliers and manufacturers are required to submit a certified nutrient analysis of their products before they can be considered for use by the school breakfast and lunch program.”
“They adopted Jamie Oliver’s approach and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and some other programs I hadn’t heard of before. They teach the kids, even kindergarten, nutrition education and they can go to the Agricultural Research Center for classes and use the Agricultural Research Center library whenever they want.” Good golly Miss Molly – you mean our youth will actually know french fries come from a potato and ketchup from a tomato? Even the school principals in the county are getting involved, they can raise money for their school by collecting compost. “They also noticed that with better nutrition, kids have higher test scores and exceed the county and state averages. That is a no brain-er to me but nice to see it documented.”
All I can say is – it’s about time! This is one of my favorite healthy snacks to get you off on the right path, and it might just be the way to get your greens-a-phobic kids to change their minds.
Crispy and salty like potato chips, but oh so much better for you! This is definitely a kid-friendly way to get the greens down your little (and big) rascals.
Servings: 4 (1-2 in my household)
1 large bunch of fresh kale, washed, and stalks removed
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra if it is an especially large bunch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey roasted peanuts, crushed for garnish (optional)
Choose just one for a flavorful variation
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/8 teaspoon Wasabi powder (sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds after baking)
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2). Spin or towel dry the washed kale. Toss with olive oil until it is all lightly coated. Spread kale evenly in a sheet pan, sprinkle with Kosher salt, black pepper, and one of the optional ingredients if you desire (it is great without the extra seasoning too).
3). Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, and remove. Turn oven temperature up to 425 F., toss the kale, and place back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
4). Sprinkle with crushed peanuts (optional), and serve immediately. On the rare occasion that there is any left, you can crisp it back up a preheated 425 degree oven for 2-3 minutes.
This makes a great afternoon snack the kids will love, but I also like it sprinkled with Chinese five spice seasoning in place of potato chips with my Jewels Turkey-Jasmine Burgers. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on for garnish if you don’t like peanuts.