My name is Megan Skillen and I am the Nutrition instructor for the Operation Frontline class at Loaves and Fishes. This is my first time teaching this class and so far it has been great! I am a graduate student at Meredith College studying nutrition and am completing my practicum at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. I was particularly interested in the Operation Frontline Program and was fortunate enough to be able to participate in this class. I am joined by Becky, our class manager, and Susan our chef. We just finished up our second class this week. We have a fantastic class of enthusiastic youth ready to learn and participate. This week, we discussed the importance of eating grains and breakfast. We made two different recipes, fruit smoothies, and French toast. The class was very excited about making both of these recipes, especially fruit smoothies as several students requested them the week prior. Before we began we reviewed the lesson from last week, and the youth were eager to explain the MyPyramid poster. I was really impressed with how much they remembered. We then talked about the importance of eating breakfast and why this meal is most often skipped. The youth made several great suggestions on ways to incorporate breakfast. When asked why grains were so essential for a healthy diet, one youth said, “carbohy”, I had to help her finish her thought, however once I said carbohydrate several students remembered. I then asked what carbohydrates gave our body, and had an immediate response from the majority of the class saying, “energy”! I emphasized the importance of eating breakfast because many breakfast foods are in the grains group and contain carbohydrate to give us energy and jumpstart our day! Unfortunately, the youth were not as excited about some whole-grain products such as whole-grain bread. However, after we made our French toast with whole-grain bread their opinion changed, and said they would use it when making some recipes. They learned that whole-grain products contain fiber and were given a handout describing its benefits. The youth also learned the importance of eating enough grains and I gave them a handout showing just how much they needed based on their age, gender, and physical activity. At the end of class we did an activity called, What’s in My Bowl. This activity was done to show how portions can vary and the class was surprised at the differences. After the lesson Becky talked to the class about gardening. She informed them that we would be doing some gardening of our own next week! Everyone was excited and was eager to learn more. It was time to cook, but not before everyone washed their hands! Susan was ready for us in the kitchen and divided the youth into groups. They were slicing fruit, preparing the French toast, and others were blending the smoothies. I overheard one of the girls who didn’t eat breakfast say; “I’m going to make a smoothie for breakfast tomorrow”! Once everything was prepared we were able to enjoy our hard work. While eating we talked with the youth about the healthy options we used and other healthy ways to prepare the recipes. For instance, instead of using the whole egg for the French toast, we used egg whites. We also used fat-free organic yogurt to make the smoothies. Everyone enjoyed the meal, in fact one youth enjoyed the smoothies so much she delayed the class from going home because she wanted to finish her smoothie!
Chocolate Strawberry French Toast
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup low fat chocolate milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 8 medium size strawberries sliced about 1/8 inch thick
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- ¼ cup light maple syrup
- Non-stick pan spray
Extras we added: powdered sugar, bananas, and kiwi
- Mix egg whites until frothy for about 1 minute.
- Add chocolate milk and cinnamon to egg whites and whip until mixed, about 1 minute.
- Wash and remove the green stems from the strawberries. Slice the strawberries and set aside.
- Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat. A non-stick pan is preferred but not absolutely necessary. Spray the pan with the non-stick spray, just enough to coat the pan.
- Once the pan is hot place one piece of bread in the egg mixture, just enough to submerge it on both sides.
- Quickly pull the bread out of the egg mixture and place it in the pan. Cook on each side until golden brown about 3 minutes on each side.
- Remove from pan and top with strawberries and light maple syrup. Enjoy!
Chefs Tips: Chef Susan encouraged the youth to use all natural maple syrup, it’s sweeter so you don’t use as much.