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Cooking: now you’re cooking!

Let's get cooking with the little experts!

Cooking food at school is a great way for kids to learn a life skill, have fun with their peers and learn about healthy options they can pack in their lunchboxes. They’re more likely to try something new alongside their friends too. The best bit is, students of all ages and abilities can get involved. Cooking is a great way to involve parents and carers, and can have a positive impact on the family.

Students at schools involved in Fresh Tastes might be learning to make healthy recipes using fresh food. The school might be focusing on the ‘Cooking Food’ action area of Fresh Tastes where they’ll be sourcing and maintaining kitchen equipment, setting up a school pantry and offering cooking experiences to students either in the classroom or in their school kitchen.

Schools who are involved in Fresh Tastes can access cooking support, resources, professional learning and discounts to give students and families hands-on experience cooking fresh produce. If your school isn’t yet involved in Fresh Tastes, contact us today.

Resources

Apple Power Balls Recipe: as featured in the Your Little Experts video above.

"I'm Alert" Online Food Safety TrainingI'm Alert is a free 2-hour online food safety training package provided by ACT Health. It’s a great introduction for teachers, parents and volunteers who need a basic understanding of safe food handling practices to do cooking with students at school. A certificate is issued on completion of training.

Health Protection Service, ACT Health: Food preparation and storage needs to comply with national and ACT legislative food handling practices. There is also a factsheet available about the use of eggs and fresh produce in schools.

Australian Dietary Guidelines:  On this website you’ll find the official guidelines around the amount and kinds of foods we need to eat for health and wellbeing. 

ACT Nutrition Support Service: recipes that are easy to prepare, budget friendly, and suitable for school and home.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation – Healthy Kids: includes family-centred advice based on the Foundation's recipes, garden activities and veggie-growing tips. The Foundation also has resources called Tools for Teachers’ which include units, lesson plans and activity starters linked to the Australian Curriculum.

The Green Shed: head out to their Mugga Lane or Mitchell locations to purchase cheap kitchen equipment, utensils and crockery to get cooking at school and home. Schools involved in Fresh Tastes can get equipment and materials from The Green Shed for free.

Healthy Eating Hub: local nutrition service and their website has free resources, recipes, videos and more

Feedinc: plenty of delicious and nutritious recipes, especially for those who need gluten or dairy free options.

Project Dinner Time: brush up on your cooking skills by attending a session run by Nutrition Australia ACT.

Fresh for KidsThese fantastic recipe cards and lunchbox ideas developed by Sydney Markets can be sent home to parents and carers, discussed in class, or used in hands-on cooking activities. 

Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Australia: This website from the famous TV Chef and crusader for healthier school meals features free recipes and resources for schools.

Getting Involved

So, how can you get involved to support cooking with students at your school?

Teachers:

  • Find out who your school’s Fresh Tastes Coordinator is and join your school’s Fresh Tastes action group.
  • Think about ways you could include classroom cooking activities in your current teaching plan. There are plenty of activities which can be integrated into different Key Learning Areas of the Australian Curriculum.
  • Find out if you school owns copies of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation’s Tools for Teachers resources and use them to plan cooking lessons.
  • Look out for professional learning opportunities about cooking with students, go along and then share what you learnt with other staff members.
  • Invite parents, carers and members of the community from various backgrounds to share cooking skills and recipes from different cultures.
  • Teach students how to perform a ‘healthy makeover’ on a recipe using your knowledge of the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines. With just a few simple changes to ingredients and preparation methods, almost any recipe can be made healthier.
  • Visit a local hospitality training centre, such as CIT, to observe students preparing for dinner or lunch.
  • Create a recipe book of meals made at school (online and/or a hard copy) which students can use at home. This could even be a fundraising opportunity for the school.
  • Prepare take-home meals. Students can practise cooking a meal and take the recipe and ingredients home to cook the meal for their family.
  • Invite the Principal, teachers or a special guest to share a meal prepared by the students/participants. This could also become a cooking competition.
  • Note: Always be aware of children’s food allergies and religious cultural preferences, and ensure you’re aware of students with medical conditions and treatment plans.

Parents:

  • Ask for the recipes used in the classroom. Spend some time preparing and enjoying these with your kids. You may be surprised at how much fun you can have and your kids will love showing off their new cooking skills.
  • Ask your child’s teacher if you can donate any kitchen equipment, cooking utensils or staple pantry items you don’t need.
  • Volunteer to help out with cooking sessions in your child’s class or see if any other close family members might be interested to help out too.
  • Offer to purchase cooking equipment for the school using vouchers. If the school is focusing on Cooking Food they may have gift vouchers to use, but no time to go out and buy what they need!
Page last updated on: 17 Sep 2019