Kitchen Helpers

You can never start too early getting children involved in the kitchen. The holidays bring lots of food and endless opportunities for cooking time. Cooking is an exciting experience for kids to uses their creativity while learning new skills.

First, start by teaching your child the basics and as they progresses allow them to have more kitchen responsibility. Throughout their experience teach them about the time and patience involved in building a recipe. Introduce them to new flavors and textures and let their imagination go wild!

Don’t forget! While your child is becoming a chef master continually educated them on the number of hazards in the kitchen. Teach them about proper hygiene and how to correctly wash their hands.

The Basics (4-7 years old)

Measuring: Using small measuring spoons to measure ingredients into a bowl

Weighing: Spooning ingredients on to kitchen scales

Mixing: Using a whisk, spoon or hands to mix ingredients together

Kneading: Assist in kneading dough

Spreading: Spreading jam or butter on toast or icing a cake

Washing: Rinse fruits and vegetables

Picking: Have them pick fruits and veggies from a garden or at the store

Super Skills (8-11 years old)

Cutting: Begin teaching children knife skills, practice first with a butter knife the proper way to hold and use. Have them slice soft foods like berries, butter and bread until they are they become comfortable.

Measuring: Have them start measuring out larger quantities of ingredients. Practicing their math skills!

Beating: Teach them how to uses an electric mixer to beat eggs and cakes batter

Greasing: Have them uses butter and cooking spray on cooking pans

Cleaning: Help wipe down tables and counters, help rinse spoons and small dishes

The Little Chef (12 and up)

Recipes: Have them follow simple recipes. Let them brainstorm ideas for creative snacks and meals!

Heating: Teach them how to properly use the microwave, watch food on the stove, and place food in the oven.

Equipment: Explain the use of different kitchen equipment and how to safely use

Opening: Show them how to use a can opener and open a variety of containers

Shopping List: Have them look in the fridge and cupboards to help create a grocery list

Peeling: Show them how to uses a potato peeler on different items


Food Art

Frozen Winter Penguins

blog post_food art penguin 01


  • ½ cup dark chocolate (chips or bar)
  • 1 banana
  • Edible decorations


  1. Peel the banana and slice in half
  2. Place ½ cup dark chocolate into a microwave safe dish
  3. Microwave until chocolate melts
  4. Dip the top and bottom of each banana half into the melted chocolate
  5. Begin placing on desired decorations
  6. Shown: orange M&M’s for the feet and nose and edible eyes
  7. Other options: blueberries, sliced frozen fruit, carrots, marshmallows, etc.
  8. Place finished penguins on a plate or cookie sheet
  9. Allow them to set in the freezer for 20mins

Did you know? The colors of a penguin are used as camouflage while swimming in the sea. From above the ocean, their black backs allow them to blend with the murky water. While below, their white stomachs blend with the bright ocean surface.

We would love to see your creations! Send them in, post them below, or post them to our Facebook page!

Food Art: Winter Snowman

Christmas is quickly approaching and there is no better time to add some Christmas cheer to your morning breakfast!

First, prepare your pancake batter. Add benefit by using whole-wheat batter.

Pour your snowman to desired shape. Give him two, three or four snowballs. Make him big or little. Even create an entire snowman family!

IMG_2737   IMG_2738   IMG_2743

While your snowman is cooking, gather your toppings. Get creative!

Here are some ideas:

Fresh berries for the buttons and eyes

Dark chocolate chips for a chocolaty mouth

Bacon and sausage for arms or a scarf

Powdered sugar for sprinkling snow

Syrup or peanut butter for taste

We would love to see your creations! Send them in, post them below or post them to our Facebook page!

Help your Child Ace their Tests

While testing time is a particularly stressful time for students and parents- eating the proper foods can make all the difference. Certain foods are better than others when it comes to fueling our brains. That is why emphasis on nutrition during this time should not be overlooked. Brain-boosting foods provide energy and allow for concentration and focus. Giving students the added edge they need to be successful!

COMPLEX CARBS: The brain is picky when comes to its fuel. It prefers steady and consistent energy. This stable energy comes from complex carbohydrates. This means, avoid eating cookies, cakes and muffins during exam week. These will leave the brain feeling tired and unfocused! Instead, get carbs from fruits, veggies and whole grains!

PROTEIN: Protein provides the brain with important amino acids. These amino acids are needed to send signals and so the brain can perform its fundamental functions. It is best to get some protein into every meal!


Don’t forget to add a little fat! It is not the amount of fat but the type of fat. Fried foods and hydrogenated oils are types to avoid. Get fats from natural sources like seeds and fish.

blog post_brain foods01

The perfect meal includes a balanced combination of protein, carbs and fat.

Energize your brain with these top brain foods!

Fruits: grapefruit, apples, cherries, pears, grapes, and oranges

Whole grains: oatmeal, rice, pasta, and cereal

Vegetable: leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower

Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas

Seafood: salmon, tuna, sardines, and cod

Dairy: yogurt, fat-free milk, and cheese

Seeds: flaxseeds, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts


meal-planner-icon-smallBrain food should start at breakfast! Consuming the right foods in the morning will make a significant difference in behavior and a student’s ability to learn. Use this sample menu for guidance during testing week!


Oatmeal with fresh sliced fruit

Fruit will just enough sweetness to make a delicious breakfast. Sprinkle their favorite seed over the top to add healthy fat. Oatmeal is filling and easy to make. The perfect way to start the week!


Scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast

Eggs are a great source of protein. Whole-wheat toast is the perfect complex carb to keep full longer.


Black bean breakfast burrito

Uses a whole-wheat tortilla, fill with eggs and black beans. Add in any extras- avocado, salsa, and sour cream. This is the complete combination to give lots of energy during a crucial time- the middle of the week.


Fruit, yogurt with granola

Incorporating carbs, protein and calcium. Satisfied your taste bunds and brain!


Whole-wheat pancakes

Treat a working brain to some tasty pancakes! Add peanut butter and banana or fresh fruit to add extra fuel.


Remember to also-

Get plenty of sleep- rest your brain the nigh before, student’s need energy from food and sleep.

Avoid over eating- getting adequate calories is great but feeling like you do on thanksgiving is not.

Pack a snack– even after a filling breakfast; a snack will give students the boost they need.

Study- starting practicing the information well in advance and avoid cramming.

Eat lunch– When the middle of the day hits, student are in need of extra energy to finish the day strong. CUSD Nutrition provides nutritious meals to do just that!

What does your family do to get through testing time? Share your tips and ideas!

Building a Healthy Meal for your Child

We all want to make sure our kids are getting healthy, balanced meals. Here are some great tips to help you make their meals more balanced.

blog post_build healthy meals 01  Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients

  • Vitamin A prevents infections
  • Vitamin C heals the body
  • Folate keeps cells healthy
  • Potassium lowers blood pressure
  • Fiber maintains a healthy gut

Encourage your child to fill up on fruit

  • Add fruits to meals like oatmeal and cereal
  • Keep a colorful fruit bowl
  • Pack fruit in their lunches
  • Pre-slice fruit for easy snacks


Add vegetables to your child’s favorite meals

  • Use veggies in soups and stir-fry’s
  • Add greens to a sandwich
  • Order pizza with veggies
  • Include a salad with dinner
  • Serve veggies with dipping sauce

Tips for purchasing fruits and vegetables

  • Rise canned veggies to remove sodium
  • Purchase seasonally
  • Buy a variety of colors
  • Purchase fresh produce weekly

blog post_build healthy meals 03  Protein

When your child falls and scraps their knee. Their bodies use protein in order to repair itself.

Protein rich foods include:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds

Choose the proper protein for your child

  • Choose low fat meat and poultry
  • Alternate protein sources
  • Serve fish 3 times a week

 blog post_build healthy meals 02 Grains

Children receive several essential nutrients from fortified grains.

Add grains to your child’s diet

  • Purchase whole wheat pastas and breads
  • Replace white rice with brown rice
  • Replace recipes with whole wheat flour
  • Buy whole grain cereals

blog post_build healthy meals 04  Dairy

Children build strong bones with the nutrients found in dairy.

Don’t forget your child’s dairy

  • Vitamin D and calcium grow strong bones
  • Vary their choices between cheese, milk and yogurt
  • Select reduced fat, low fat and fat free
  • Purchase pasteurized dairy to ensure its safety

Healthy Fall, Healthy you

blog post_HEALTHY TIPS

Make this Fall your healthiest yet, with a healthy tip for every day of November.

  1. Flu season is here. Remind kids to wash their hands.
  2. Remind kids to slow down and enjoy their food.
  3. BUY most of your food from the produce, dairy and deli section.
  4. Make dinner time, family time.
  5. Shop smart and read the nutrition labels.
  6. 100% fruit juice counts as one serving of fruit.
  7. Go on a family walk.
  8. 10 minutes in the sun a day give adequate Vitamin D.
  9. Apples, oranges, and pears are all in season this month.
  10. Don’t forget to eat breakfast.
  11. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  12. Have fruit with yogurt for dessert.
  13. Moderation is key.
  14. Use vinegar to disinfect surfaces and toys.
  15. Create a physical activity chart.
  16. Take your kids to the library to pick out books.
  17. Check the CUSD Nutrition blog for Thanksgiving Super foods.
  18. Teach your kids the importance of flossing.
  19. Let kids pick their own fruit and vegetable snack after school.
  20. Have a jump rope contest.
  21. Replace the saltshaker with herbs and spices.
  22. Make whole grain pancakes for breakfast.
  23. Add more fruits and vegetables to holiday cooking.
  24. Select cold foods last when shopping.
  25. Play a game of catch.
  26. Educate yourself on how to safely prepare holiday meals.
  27. Be thankful.
  28. Donate canned food to your local food bank.
  29. Have your kids pick their favorite fruits at the grocery store.
  30. End November with an outdoor family activity.

What are your great tips for staying healthy in the Fall/Winter months?

Float vs. Sink: A Food Experiment


  • Large glass bowl
  • Water
  • A variety of fruits and vegetables
    • Fruits: banana, orange, mango, lime, apple, grape
    • Veggies: carrot, potato, avocado, peppers
    • Halloween Themed Experiment: pumpkin, squash, oranges, carrots
  • Paper and pencil
  • Kitchen scale (optional)


~Fill large glass bowl with water

~Collect your fruit and vegetables for the experiment. Any will work!

~Take your pencil and paper and create four columns as shown below

~Record all your fruits, vegetables and their weight

~Look at each fruit and vegetable and guess if it will sink or float when placed in water. Take your time and think about:

  • How much it weighs
  • Does it have a peel or skin?
  • What is its shape?
Fruit or Veggie Weight Do you think it will sink or float? Did it sink or float?
Banana 4 ounces Sink Float

~One at a time, place each item in the glass water bowl and record whether it sinks or floats

~Take everything out that can be peeled (ex. banana, orange)

~Peel each item and place both the fruit and peel back in the water. Did they float or sink?

*Want to examine more? Remove the core out of the mango and avocado. Remove the seeds out of the lime and pumpkin. See if they sink!

Fruit for Thought

  • Weight:
    • Did the weight effect if something sank to the bottom or floated at the top? Not always, something as lite as a baby carrot will sink but a heavy apple will float.
  • Shape:
    • Did the shape impact the results? If weight is distributed across a greater area it will help it float.
  • Whole vs. Peeled:
    • Did peeling the fruit change the result? The protective skin of some fruits (banana and orange) have air pocket that keep it from sinking. Explain that is the reason we wear life jackets!

What really controls if a fruit or vegetable sinks or floats? Density! Both the weight and the amount of space the food takes up will determine if an object or food can float.

What other food items did you think of using? What was the most surprising fruit or vegetables?