LA's BEST Students Turn Into Chefs for National Nutrition Month

To kick off Spring and National Nutritional Month, LA’s BEST students learned to make healthy pizza and green smoothies with got milk? and former Disney TV chef Gino Campagna.

Thirty LA’s BEST students from Griffin Avenue Elementary donned aprons, kneaded pizza dough, concocted green smoothies and learned that cooking healthy foods can be fun, messy and delicious when they participated in a hands-on cooking class thrown by got milk? and Chef Gino Campagna, former host of the Disney show, “Gino’s Kitchen.”

(photos courtesy of got milk)

In the two-hour class, Chef Gino entertained students—he lobbed them balls of pizza dough and tried to toss a grape into a blender from across the room-- while educating them on nutritious food choices.

“Our goal is to raise the nutrition IQ of kids,” said Chef Gino, who is now Executive Chef at Piccolo Chef, an award-winning children’s cooking school.

LA’s BEST students made their own pizzas using dough made from a combination of white and wheat flour, mozzarella cheese and a variety of toppings such as mushrooms, spinach and broccoli.

While the pizzas cooked, students joined Chef Gino in creating green smoothies.

They tossed ice, milk, grapes, spinach, pears, avocado, apples and other green foods into the blender, sweetening the concoction with a touch of honey. The California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), creator of the got milk? campaign, partnered with Chef Gino and Piccolo Chef to sponsor cooking classes for students and families throughout California.

LA’s BEST was asked to join the partnership because of the after school organization’s commitment to providing nutrition and physical education opportunities to students through its BEST Fit Program. The Best Fit Program was started in 2003 by LA’s BEST to combat and respond to the growing problems of overweight and obese children and youth, particularly in low-income, urban neighborhoods. BEST Fit is designed to help students develop healthy eating and exercise habits, due to the reduction of this form of education during the school day. The program includes on-going nutrition and fitness presentations and workshops, healthy cooking demonstrations, an LA's BEST cookbook with healthy afterschool snack ideas, and edible gardening projects in which children help to create gardens at their schools to grow fruits and vegetables. The program is an example of national Expanded Learning movement – expanding education and enrichment byeond the traditional classroom and class time.

Each student received a goodie bag that included a got milk t-shirt an apron, and a Piccolo Chef Cookbook. Then they enjoyed their delicious culinary creations.

(photos courtesy of got milk)