What is the month of November without our favorite fall dishes? To me, eating seasonally in the fall means stuffing myself full of all types of squash as well as roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes. The hardest part of my job as an AmeriCorps member is to get people as excited about eating delicious, local food, as I am. What better way to start, than to have a local sweet potato taste test! I ordered sweet potatoes off the Iowa Food Hub and while I waited until they were delivered, I brainstormed about how I should prepare them. I have never been a fan of sweet, sweet potatoes. All of the marshmallows and brown sugar are not my ideal toppings. I enjoy my sweet potatoes with a savory edge. So I decided to prepare them with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and rosemary. The rosemary filled the entire cafeteria with a homey, Thanksgiving feel.
As each grade filed through the lunchroom, I asked them if they would like to try the sweet potatoes. A lot of students were very interested and some even came back for seconds! Even the staff were having fun trying the sweet potatoes and some even got to bring the leftovers home.
An important component of teaching healthy eating is to introduce students to new foods as well as new twists on old favorites. Throughout my AmeriCorps year I really want to show students that eating healthy is actually fun and even more delicious than anything you could get from a box. By using seasonings and a little bit of fat, you can transform food from the earth into a colorful, appealing meal to be shared with family and friends. Next month we will be doing a butternut squash taste test! I hope I can once again convince a few brave souls to branch out and taste the magic.