As we do every summer, we started thinking early on about ways to help our clubs flourish and promote the core values of the Breakfast Club of Canada. We settled on two main goals for this year: supporting our clubs in educating students about healthy eating habits, and helping build strong communities of practice across the wide regions that we support in Western Canada, stretching all the way from Hudson Bay to Vancouver Island.
We know that students who grow up learning about healthy foods and with a healthy diet are likely to continue this lifestyle into adulthood, which will help prepare them for a world with countless food options, some better than others. We also know that we have so much to learn from our school partners, all of whom work in unique contexts and face their own realities regarding food security, food culture, and children’s preferences. We want to do a better job connecting our school partners to each other so that we can all continue learning from each other about the best ways to support student health and nutrition.
One of our first initiatives to meet these goals was the introduction of a monthly nutrition contest. This contest is open to all schools in Western Canada and encourages school partners to introduce a particular healthy fruit or vegetable into their breakfast programs. Each month, schools who participate send in their stories and a few photos, and we choose winners from each province to receive a fruit and vegetable grant of up to $250. October’s theme, of course, was pumpkin! And you did amazingly…
Maillard Middle School in Port Coquitlam
In British Columbia, we had some very impressive submissions from schools in Port Coquitlam, Langley, Coquitlam, and other communities. However, we were most impressed by Maillard Middle School in Port Coquitlam. Karen Exley is the Youth Worker at Maillard and has been a great supporter of the Club and a creative chef, feeding a variety of breakfast items to her students each morning. In October, Karen served up pumpkin in three fun ways: pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin parfaits, and pumpkin smoothies. We’d also like to acknowledge our runner-up, Alice Brown Elementary in Langley, where Shannah Henry put her culinary wizardry to use and served up some, well, we think the name describes it perfectly: Chocolate Zucchini Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Cream, Cheese Frosting and Honey Cinnamon Pumpkin Seeds. Try saying that five times fast. Thank you, Shannah, for a fantastic effort.
In Alberta, we were blown away by the effort schools put into incorporating pumpkin into their breakfast menus. We heard about lots of delicious (and nutritious!) pumpkin baked goods, pumpkin oatmeal, and even smoothies. While participation of all sorts was celebrated, one school in particular took the pumpkin theme to the next level – Don Bosco School in Calgary.
Don Bosco students were already learning about pumpkins when they planted them in their school garden last spring. Despite losing two pumpkins in the September snowstorm (only in Calgary!) the students and staff persevered to harvest the remaining pumpkins and cooked up a storm. Their meals were not only health-conscious, but fun and creative as well. They even decorated their breakfast room with pumpkins to make sure everyone knew about the monthly theme. We can’t wait to see what they do with next month’s veggie, zucchini.
So there we have it, November is Zucchini Month! We’re looking forward to seeing what our schools come up with.