Whidbey cookbook project encourages children to eat healthy

Recipe submissions for the project are now welcome.

The creators of a free, easily accessible cookbook for kids that encourages healthy eating are looking for people to contribute their best recipes for snacks and easy meals.

Melinda Gardiner, executive director for Whidbey Island Nourishes, said one of the goals of the cookbook project is to solve some of the disconnect she has observed between children who are enthusiastic about eating food fresh from the school gardens, but not so eager to eat that same food when it is in a recipe.

“It’s really about developing that love of healthy eating that will last them a lifetime,” Gardiner said.

WIN is partnering with the South Whidbey School Farms Program, Good Cheer Food Bank, Coupeville Farm to School Program and Whidbey Island Grown to complete the project, which is titled “Snacking Through the Seasons — A Whidbey Island Cookbook.”

Recipes must use local ingredients, can be adapted for a range of culinary skill levels and should be equitable, meaning they can be cooked in households of varying economic situations.

“The average student maybe doesn’t have carrot juice in their fridge, or the means to purchase those things,” Gardiner said with a laugh.

Recipes that are primarily snack-based are being collected, although easy meals are acceptable too.

Community members can use the Google Form to submit recipes, forms.gle/3h2Gr1G7Vd8uKFLw6, or email to snackingthroughtheseasons@gmail.com.

So far, the project has garnered about two dozen submissions, including that of local children’s cookbook author Heide Horeth.

“It’s great to have that kind of community interest and support from people who have already established themselves in similar markets,” Gardiner said.

The school districts won’t start using “Snacking Through the Seasons” until next school year.

The cookbook will be available online, although Gardiner said there will also be some print editions available because some families may not be able to access the internet.

The digital cookbook could include extra visuals to engage students in the recipe and cooking process, such as tutorials and pictures.

Some foraging and food preservation techniques may also be included in the cookbook.

The result of the project will be something not only kids and families, but also community members, will be able to access.

Zvi Bar-Chaim, the school garden coordinator for the Coupeville Farm to School program, said an AmeriCorps food educator is supporting recipe development.

“This builds on the work that our own organization does with our weekly online cooking classes of healthy, plant-based recipes for all ages to enjoy,” Bar-Chaim said.

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