Tama Co. Extension offering Kids in the Kitchen youth program

Brianna Ferch, Kate Mussig, Jenna Beichley, Boston Wood, Cooper Murty, Jacob Brown, Knox Raymond, and Charlette Bruene prepare for their first session of Kids in the Kitchen in Gladbrook. Contributed photo

What do happy kids, healthy foods and messy tables have in common? They are all part of the Kids in the Kitchen program offered through ISU Extension and Outreach. Throughout the months of September, October and November, 30 youth grades K-5th from Gladbrook, Garwin, and North Tama have had the opportunity to cook and taste test healthy foods while learning about healthy eating and physical activity.

Tama County Extension and Outreach is coordinating Kids in the Kitchen workshops in three local communities, Traer, Garwin, and Gladbrook. The workshops are being offered in three sessions and take place on early out school days. All three workshops are currently closed for registration, but more program dates are in the works.

Youth got a chance to taste-test many vegetables to eat with the hummus and veggie dips they made. Other recipes included fruit pizzas, smoothies, and chicken salad on rice cakes. “I liked the smoothies the best,” a first-grade participant revealed. “They were delicious! I never knew that I could put spinach in a smoothie.”

Cooking is a life skill that every youth should have the possibility to develop. Kids in the Kitchen is an Iowa 4-H youth development program from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach that is designed to do just that. Lessons include those on food safety, basic kitchen safety, MyPlate, and the importance of physical activity. Basic skills such as how to follow a recipe, measure ingredients, use a sharp knife, utilize the oven, stovetop burners, and a microwave are all essential skills that are part of this program.

“This workshop helped the youth to learn basic kitchen skills, taste new foods or foods in a different way and ways to be active. Kids loved working in the kitchen. My hope is that they will be able to continue being involved in their home in picking out and preparing their snacks,” Tama County Youth Coordinator, Jenny Hulme shared.

Youth from Gladbrook enjoy the smoothies they learned to make during the Kids in the Kitchen program offered by the ISU Extension and Outreach office. Contributed photo

Tama County 4-H hopes to offer these youth workshops and others in the future, please contact the Extension Office if you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering or with any questions about 4-H or how to get involved with other youth activities as a member or volunteer.

The Tama County Extension Office would like to thank the Garwin Christian Church and the United Methodist Church of Gladbrook for allowing the space to provide these learning experiences.

For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, please contact your local county ISU Extension and Outreach office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h.

Taevin Swenson, Cali Harrington, Andrew Papesh, Jak Steuhm, Kooper Thiessen, Cambry Harrington, Natalie Upah, Madison Papesh, and Leeda Tuguor receive their certificates after completion of the third and final Garwin session of Kids in the Kitchen offered by ISU Extension and Outreach. Contributed photo