Cooking and food are the way to a kid’s heart, but it’s also a key way to involve kids in learning. It’s not a mystery why cooking makes for a great learning opportunity. It has geometry, measurement, algebra, writing, narrative, technical, science and pleases the stomach. I love to cook in the classroom, and my goal last year was to do more of it. Although I did, I didn’t do as much as I would have liked because my go-to recipes didn’t fit my classroom climate. I had a student who was vegan, and two students with lactose intolerance. I also had students who could not eat pork products, so easy recipes like pudding were off the list because of the gelatin. Luckily, no nut allergies, gluten or wheat intolerances! Although, I am extremely sensitive when it comes to anything peanut, so we avoid this and replace with tahini (sesame seeds).
This made cooking in the classroom more difficult for me. It’s not that it is difficult, it’s just that I’m not vegan, so it took extra effort on my part. Overall, it was a great experience and helped me to think creatively. You will need to customize the recipes below to meet your classroom needs. Overall, these are fairly allergy friendly or you can find substitutes.
- Fruit kabobs: Use Silk or Dairy-free yogurt, cinnamon, vanilla extract for the dip. Add various fruits to the sticks. Great for kids to make patterns!
- Pumpkin Pie Pudding: Use pureed pumpkin, spices, extract and a little coconut milk or cream (if using milk, only a little, if using cream, as much as you want).
- Salad: Not all salads are boring! Especially when the kids slice up their own tomatoes (butter knives), and tear their own lettuce, etc. Kids pick the veggies they want, toss and serve with oil and vinegar dressing (needs mustard to make it emulsify). Great science there!
- Hummus: Purred beans (any will really do), garlic and onion powder (only a little), salt, pepper and other spices. You could add sundried tomatoes and other flavors as well.
- Trail Mix: Trail mix is great for 100s day! You count out 10 of 10 different ingredients on a laminated counting mat. Just use what parents are able to bring. Because it is customizable, this means you can differentiate based on your classroom (I suggest never using nuts if you have any nut allergies in the classroom or even kids with siblings with nut allergies). Ingredients may include sesame seeds, cereal (such as, mini wheats), popcorn, dried fruit, chocolate chips or cocoa nibs, etc. Add more or less of certain items based on allergies.