Healthy Heart Menu
The following Early Education Waikato centres have an inhouse chef who prepares and cooks fresh food on a daily basis.
The menu has been carefully planned to provide healthy nuturitious meals which meet the NZ Healthy Heart standards. Children care for edible gardens which contribute to these meals.
► Click here to see our Summer Menu.
As a schoolgirl, Chrissy Williams always enjoyed home economics, but she never had an inkling it would turn into a 20+ year career.
Chrissy is one of the culinary professionals who prepare and cook fresh, healthy and nutritious meals every day at several of our Early Education Waikato Centres.
Working to a menu which meets the New Zealand Heart Foundation Healthy Heart Standards, Chrissy and our other in-house chefs incorporate ingredients that have been grown in the centres' edible gardens which are tended by the tamariki.
"Between us, we develop set menus for the centres, which use seasonal ingredients and encourage the children to try new things," Chrissy says.
Tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, silverbeet, spinach, kale, kumara and beans are among the vegetables grown in the edible gardens which the youngsters get a buzz out of looking after.
"One of the most popular meals, believe it or not, is soup — which could be because the children see so many of the ingredients that they have helped to grow."
Cooking to meet a range of allergies and food intolerances can pose a challenge, but Chrissy is always pleasantly surprised by how well the range of 'approved' foods goes down with the tamariki.
"We rarely use sugar, and have no processed foods — everything is made from scratch — and our meals are low in salt and aren't cooked in fat."
Given how fussy children can be with new foods, Chrissy may just have the magic touch, although with three growing tamariki of her own, she's always had willing subjects to try out any new recipes!
If you're looking for a way to introduce your whanau to some vegetables they might have tried to hide under the mashed potatoes in the past, give Chrissy's never-fail soup a try — NB quantities are for 125 pre-schoolers so if you are wanting to make a few days of soup for your whole family, you probably only need about a quarter of the recipe below (but it is freezable too):
Chicken and leek soup
1 bunch celery
2 onions (diced)
2.5 kg chicken breast
4 pkts King traditional chicken soup mix
4 litres vegetable stock
4 litres boiled water
Saute in 2 pots the celery, leek and onions in a little oil.
Add 2 pkts of soup mix to each pot along with 2 litres of boiled water to each and boil for 30 minutes.
Add 2 litres of vegetable stock to each pot along with your chopped up veges and 1 more litre of water and boil for another half hour.
Add your chicken breast divided into the 2 pots and cook until cooked through .
All up this should take 2 hours max to cook.
When veges are soft and chicken is cooked through you can mouli for the children and serve with buttered bread.