Have you heard about HealthStart’s Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala? On September 17th at 7 pm (CST), award-winning Chef Bobo Surles will be headlining HealthStart’s event. Chef Bobo signed up to support HealthStart because he shares the organization’s mission.
Chef Bobo and HealthStart believe that the best way to ensure adults eat well is to start forming good habits early in life. HealthStart knows that investing in early health education is crucial to building the foundation for a lifetime of wellness. One of the ways HealthStart addresses this is with our school nutrition initiative, What Are YOU Feeding?. This program uses a labeling system that helps kids learn which foods are good for the brain, bones, circulatory system, muscles, and digestive system, connecting what they eat at school to their health.
What Chef Bobo and HealthStart do is critical to the future of young children, especially now. It has never been more important for children to understand how their body works and how to keep it healthy. By learning the importance of good health at an early age and providing families with nutritious and affordable food options, we can help prevent illness and future preventable diseases.
When creating school lunches, Chef Bobo’s motto is “Nutrition, bold flavor, and keeping costs down.” Almost everything he makes for lunches is made from scratch. Despite this, Calhoun’s lunches cost about $3 per meal (this is around the average budget for many public schools), proving that we don’t have to spend large amounts of money to feed ourselves and our families healthy, tasty foods. With the lunch program, they hope to promote a healthier mindset about food and eating behaviors.
Who is Chef Bobo?
Robert Surles (aka Chef Bobo) graduated from the French Culinary Institute. He was hired by Calhoun School to change the way their students saw school lunches. Traditionally, school lunches are not known to be very healthy or delicious, but Chef Bobo helped change that.
Chef Bobo believes that learning how to eat is a life skill. With his help, Calhoun began the Eat Right Now Lunch Program, which provides students with healthier meals and promotes a well-balanced diet. Chef Bobo started by offering food that looked like the processed food students were accustomed to, but instead was made with all fresh ingredients.
“I feel that, automatically, if food is made fresh, from scratch, it’s already healthier and tastes a whole lot better than the processed food they were eating,” says Chef Bobo.
Calhoun’s Eat Right Now program has been a model for healthy school lunches. It brings awareness to the impact of school lunch on children and the lifelong habits they form. This program also extends past the kitchen and tries to help students understand how food relates to their physical and mental well-being and even their success in the classroom.
“When kids return to class after a nutritionally balanced lunch, they have “fuel in the tank” to learn. They tend to be more alert.” says Chef Bobo
When you register for HealthStart’s free virtual event, you can watch and follow along as Chef Bobo cooks up his world-famous and family-friendly Jambalaya!
Chef Bobo's Recipes
Chef Bobo is also the author of the Good Food Cookbook. His cookbook features over 140 healthy, kid-friendly recipes along with tips for healthy eating. All the book recipes are favorites in Calhoun’s lunch program and include a variety of foods and cultures.
The book also includes tips on how to involve the entire family. Bobo is a big believer that cooking can be fun and an excellent way for families to spend quality time together.
“Cooking is fun, creative, and somewhat physical. It requires math skills and strategy, along with planning. Parents need to invite the kids to help them. Give kids some responsibility, i.e., if you are scaling a recipe up or down, let the kids do the math. When the food is finished, let the kids prepare the final presentation. Show them the fun that can be had in the kitchen. Also, I think it’s important to take kids to the farmer’s markets to select foods to prepare.”
Here are a couple of his recipes that will be similar to the ones in his books. Both of these recipes are easy to pack for school lunch and kid-approved.
Not only are quesadilla fun to eat, but they are also quick and easy to make. This vegetable quesadilla gives us the taste of quesadilla that we love while also serving assorted vegetables with high amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Ingredients: 2 small zucchini (cubed), 1 red bell pepper (chopped), 1 medium carrot (grated), 8 (8 inch) corn or flour tortillas, 1 cup of shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Directions: Place zucchini, bell pepper, carrot, onion, and mushrooms in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes. Place two tortillas, side by side, on the prepared baking sheet. On each tortilla layer, cheddar cheese, vegetables, then Monterey jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Top each with another tortilla. Place under the broiler and cook until lightly browned. Carefully turn tortillas and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve. Serves 4 people
Hummus Pitas with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Chef Bobo’s lunches are mostly made from scratch. Learn how to make your hummus with this Hummus pitas with cucumber yogurt sauce recipe.
2 cans of garbanzo beans, 4 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp. Tahini paste, 1 tbsp. Sesame oil, ½ tsp. Cumin, 2 cloves garlic(crushed), juice 2 lemons
Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:
½ cucumber diced, 1 cup of yogurt, ½ tsp. Salt, 2 plum tomatoes (cut into slices), 1 cup of thinly sliced romaine lettuce, 6 pocket whole wheat pitas
Directions: Mix all ingredients for the hummus in a food processor, process until smooth. If too thick, add some water until the hummus is the consistency of soft mashed potatoes.
Stir yogurt sauce ingredients together, set aside.
Heat pitas in a 350°F oven for a few minutes until warmed. Remove, cut in half, and fill with hummus, 2 tbsp of yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. Serve the remaining yogurt sauce on the side.
If you like the recipes you see, make sure to join us on September 17 at 7 pm CST to watch Chef Bobo work his magic in the kitchen!
Registration for this event is FREE, so make sure to register to access this exciting opportunity. Our goal is to raise $30,000 to get tablets and learning tools in the hands of 100 low-income families, so they can access the vital information needed to stay healthy and return to school safely. With your support, we can build a healthier future for our children. We hope to see you there!