Working with Food Allergies in the 4-H Club Meeting

Food allergies can be very serious, especially among children. With so many young children being diagnosed with food allergies, it is very important that all understand what to look for.  According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one in every 13 children is being diagnosed with a food allergy and every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room.

FARE states that there are eight major food allergens which causean estimated 90% of all allergens.  These foods include: egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts(almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios), soy, fish, wheat, crustacean shellfish(crab, lobster, crayfish, and shrimp).  These are the allergens which typically cause the most serious food allergy reactions but there are more than 170 foods known to cause allergic reactions.

If your county utilizes online enrollment, please encourage 4-H parents to put any kind of health consideration into 4-H Online when completing their child’s enrollment.  Health forms for camp must also be fully completed.  This is the first, and sometimes only, way to find out this information. Volunteers need to be aware of any food allergies which put children at risk.

Think about club meetings and snacks.  Make sure all parents know of any foods that must be avoided.  This needs to be enforced at the club meetings so there is never a chance of an allergic reaction.

A great option would be to serve fruits or vegetables at the meeting.  Typically, these are not common allergens among children.  This would also promote healthier eating at club meetings.  Cloverbuds love to help make food. What are some snacks that are appropriate for them to help prepare?  Some fun ideas include a relish tray, fruit tray, hummus, ants on a log, guacamole, or animals made out of fruit/vegetables.  Have fun and be creative.  Don’t know where to begin?  Check the library or do a search on line.  And be mindful of serving healthy drinks as well such as water, 100% juice, or unsweetened tea.

For more information on food allergies, please visit www.foodallergy.org.

Cooking with Cloverbuds: Apples, Apples, and More Apples!

Everyone loves apples!  And fall is a great time to check out all the varieties of apples available.  Cloverbuds will have their favorite but bring in different kinds of apples for a tasting party.  Before you show them the apples read the story The Little Red House with No Doors and No Window and a Star Inside. Here is a link to the story: https://www.ncagr.gov/agscool/commodities/redhouse.htm

See if they can guess the answer to the riddle before you finish the story.  After you show them the star inside the apple, let your Cloverbuds taste the other varieties of apples you brought and let them decide which kind is their favorite by making an apple graph.

Below are some other apples activities and recipes to enjoy.

Activity 1:  Apple Science

When apples are exposed to air they start to turn brown. Try experimenting with kitchen ingredients and see which items will work so apples do not turn brown.

You will need: milk, baking soda mixed with water, vinegar, lemon juice, 6 small bowls, knife for cutting the apples and of course apples.  In small bowls put each of the ingredients and leave one bowl with nothing.

Cut up your apples and place them in the bowls. Pour each ingredient over the apples and wait and see what happens. (While waiting you could read a story about How Apples Grow by Betsy Maestro or choose any book about apples.) Check on your apples and see which item worked best. Discuss with your Cloverbuds why they think one worked better than another.

Activity 2: Apple Art

Use your apple star and dip in paint to have Cloverbuds make apples creatures. You will need paint, construction paper, markers, paper towels for clean-up, and plastic bag paint shirts to protect clothes.

Activity 3: Apple Snacks

  • Apples sandwiches – Cut apple in round slices so you can see the star. Cut out the middle with the seeds. Spread with peanut butter, hazelnut spread or cream cheese. Fill with raisins, chocolate chips, coconut or whatever snack you would like.
  • Apple Pie in a Cup – Layer in a cup diced apples, graham cracker, and whipped topping. Don’t forget the caramel topping.
  • Yogurt Delight –Layer apples in a cup and top with yogurt. You can add sprinkles too.

Let the fun begin as you explore the world of apples with your Cloverbuds!

Cooking with Cloverbud Science

Kids love to experiment, so what better way than by using kitchen science? The best part about beginning kitchen science is a lot of ingredients are already available as common items in the kitchen. Children will be able to:

  1. Experience scientific method

When looking at scientific method, there are basically five points to take a look at:

  • Observe/Question: What do you want to find out?
  • Hypothesis: Predict what will happen.
  • Experiment: Conduct you experiment.
  • Draw Conclusions: What happened? Was your prediction correct?
  • Share Results: What did you learn? Share with your fellow Cloverbuds
  1. Explore the differences between a mixture, solution and a reaction

A mixture is when two or more items are combined and no reaction takes place. A solution is a type of mixture that is formed when one substance dissolves in a liquid with no reaction.  A reaction occurs when two materials are combined and a reaction occurs or something happens.

Materials list for each Cloverbud: ¼ t salt, ¼ t pepper, ½ t sugar, ¼ c water, 1 t baking soda, ¼ c vinegar, three small cups, small stick for stirring, small snack baggies and one sandwich size zip lock bag. Prepare one baggie for each dry ingredient.

Activity 1

  1. Have the Cloverbuds predict what will happen if they put salt and pepper together in a small cup.
  2. Have the children mix salt and pepper together in the small cup.

Did anything happen? Can you still see the salt and pepper? Did your prediction come true? What is a mixture? What other ingredients could you use to make a mixture?

Snack mixes make great mixtures because you can still see what ingredients you used.  You can use any snack ingredients such as pretzels, cereal, veggie chips, peanuts, or corn chips. A fun activity is to have several different snack items available and let the Cloverbuds make up their own recipe and name for a snack mix.

Activity 2

  1. Have the Cloverbuds predict what will happen if they put sugar and water together.
  2. Have them stir the sugar and water together in a small cup.

Did anything happen? Can you still see the water and sugar? Did your prediction come true? What is a solution? What other ingredients could you use to make a solution?

Smoothies work for making a solution. Here is a simple fruit smoothie recipe: 8 strawberries 1 banana and ¼ cup milk. Put in a blender to combine.

Activity 3

  1. Have Cloverbuds predict what will happen if they mix vinegar and baking soda.
  2. Put baking soda into sandwich size zip lock bag. Pour vinegar into small cups. Place cup into plastic baggie and seal. Dump the vinegar out of the cup and watch what happens.

Did anything happen? Did your prediction come true? What is a reaction? What other ingredients could you use to make a reaction?

Because of yeast, bread making is another way to show a reaction.  Mix together 1 ½ c warm water, 1 T honey, 1 ½ t salt, 1 T yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes until there is bubbling or a foam on the top. Next knead in 3 ½ – 4 cups flour until it is no longer sticky. Make small balls (for number of Cloverbuds) and cover for 20 minutes. Preheat oven or toaster oven at 400 degrees. Bake 15-20 minutes.

 

These are just some fun activities you can do to encourage learning by doing. Not only will your Cloverbuds have fun, but they will also be learning some science knowledge.

Cooking with Cloverbud Math

Let’s take a look at math in the kitchen. You can use math skills like measuring, counting, fractions, weighing, and estimation. Utilize your whole group by having each Cloverbud help with making the snack. You can divide the jobs and ingredients among each Cloverbud (example one Cloverbud can measure the flour and another the sugar).  That way everyone is involved.  Here is a recipe that works great to give each Cloverbud a job.

Waldorf Salad

  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup seedless grapes (cut in half)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 T sugar

Prepare the fruits & celery (supervise children when using plastic knives). Mix mayo and sugar. Carefully toss mixture with dressing. You can use any fruits or veggies that you choose especially if you have more than 5 Cloverbuds.

A fun activity for your Cloverbuds is to fill a measuring cup with water. Pour the water into different bowls or containers that are different shapes. Does it look different? Now pour it back into the measuring cup to demonstrate that the amount hasn’t changed. 

Bring a small scale and let the Cloverbuds weigh the ingredients and measure them in a measuring cup to compare two different units of measure.  Of course what is math without counting? This snack mix will lend itself to weighing, counting and sorting skills.

Ranch Snack Mix (makes 7 servings)

  • 8 oz. miniature pretzels
  • 24 oz. Bugles
  • 8 oz. nuts
  • 8 oz. miniature cheddar cheese fish-shaped crackers
  • 8 oz. mini club crackers

Put ingredients in a large plastic Ziploc baggie. Sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons envelope ranch salad dressing. Drizzle with 6 Tablespoons canola oil; toss until well coated. Air dry.

Measure one cup of sugar (or other ingredient), then measure again using half cup, third cup, and quarter cup measures. Talk about how they’re different. Then demonstrate that you can measure two half-cups and it equals the same amount as one cup. Here is a recipe for:

No Bake Peanut Butter Squares

Combine:

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla

Add to mixture: 3 cups crushed vanilla wafers

Press mixture into an 8” pan.

Melt: 1 cup chopped peanuts with 2 cups chocolate chips

Spread over mixture in pan. Let it set up before eating.

This recipe could also be doubled and the Cloverbuds could help rewrite the recipe so it can feed more people or even reduce it to feed less people.

Fruit and cheese kabobs are a fun way to add patterns and sorting to your Cloverbud math skills. All you need are grapes, strawberries, and bananas or any fruit, along with some small skewers or toothpicks. The Cloverbuds can make their own pattern and then draw the pattern on a piece of paper. They can make a quick dip with yogurt and a dash of cinnamon.

There are a lot of recipes that you can adapt to encourage math skills, so have fun. Happy cooking!

Cooking with Cloverbuds

All Cloverbuds like to eat so why not let them make a snack to share at a Cloverbud meeting? There are several recipes that they can make that do not require a stove or oven. The best part about cooking is children can learn and still have fun in the process. Skills that you can talk about as the Cloverbuds are preparing the snack can be anything from reading the recipe, math skills (like fractions), or learning about kitchen safety. As long as you make it fun, the Cloverbuds will have fun too.

Some tips that you should use when cooking with children are:

  1. First, be sure there are no food allergies
  2. Make sure space is clean and safe
  3. Assemble items needed to make the snack (if using a hot plate, electric skillet or toaster oven, supervise the children at all times)
  4. When thinking about a snack, use the MyPlate guideline for healthy treats
  5. Make sure all hands are clean when preparing food
  6. Have children use plastic knives (avoid graters since it is easy for little hands to cut themselves)

Cloverbuds can learn with hands-on experiences identifying things that are sharp, hot, and learning to be careful.   A great idea when thinking about what to make, is to link the food item to a book or even a topic you are exploring. By linking your activity to a book, Cloverbuds can learn about where a food item comes from and how it gets to the table.

Here are some ideas of foods to make with your Cloverbuds:

Pancakes:

  • Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • Pancakes, Pancakes! By Eric Carle

You can add different fruits or toppings to the pancakes. You can also color the pancake batter and let the Cloverbuds make pancake art to eat.

Popcorn:

  • Popcorn by Elaine Landau
  • The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola
  • Popcorn by Sara E. Hoffmann

If you have an old Stir Crazy Popcorn maker the kids can watch it pop. Kids can make and add different toppings to their popcorn.

Peanut Butter:

  • From Peanut to Peanut Butter by Robin Nelson
  • How Do They Make That? Peanut Butter by Jan Bernard & John Willis

Making peanut butter from scratch is a good way to show Cloverbuds what it takes to make peanut butter, especially if they can shell the peanuts themselves.

 Instant Pudding:

  • Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

Recipe: 1 Tablespoon instant pudding with ¼ cup milk

If you have baby food jars they make a great way to shake up the instant pudding, along with Oreos for dirt and gummy worms.

You may have to enlist the aid of the parents to help provide some of the food items needed to make the recipes. These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. You may have to do some prep work in advance, but seeing the enthusiasm and fun the Cloverbuds have is well worth that extra time.