Take a New Twist on Fast-Food

The following is a blog from NCSU student Kate Towery. It is the 3rd in a series of 5 blog posts (read her posts from week 1 and week 2 if you haven’t already!) she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor for an OFL Class she is teaching. Kate is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s OFL/Nutrition Program. Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program. This week at Operation Frontline’s “Side by Side” class we learned about our local farmers’ markets, how to read nutrition facts labels, and great ways to make eating out healthier! Our two recipes, Baked Chicken Fingers and Sweet Potato Fries, were also a great demonstration of how to create a more nutritious version of these fast-food favorites at home. We made trail mix as a healthy on-the-go snack and discussed the importance of using the Nutrition Facts Label. During the gardening lesson we learned which produce are in season for each month of the year in North Carolina.

What I really want to focus on, though, is the recipes and the participants’ reactions to them. Chicken tenders and fries are a popular meal for kids when the family is eating out. We brainstormed some ways to eat healthier at restaurants, like cutting down on condiments, choosing milk or juice instead of soda, and  . Our recipe takes an old favorite the kids enjoy and cuts down the fat by baking rather than frying the tenders and the fries. Sweet potatoes, which are in season in North Carolina all 12 months of the year, are also high in vitamins and minerals and make a delicious substitution for fries. Our participants’ were ecstatic about the sweet potato fries.

One mom shared how she orders them all the time at one of her favorite barbecue restaurants and was really excited to learn how to bake them at home. Her daughter enjoyed cooking and seasoning the fries and really liked the baked chicken tenders. Using low-sodium tomato sauce was a great dipping sauce as an alternative to ketchup or ranch. If the kids are begging for Chik-fil-A or McDonald's, try some of Operation Frontline’s recipes below and see what your family thinks!

Click here for the Baked Chicken Fingers recipe!

Click here for the Sweet Potato Fries recipe!