Week 4: Sustainable Eating

MOOC Summaries - Child Nutrition and Cooking - Sustainable EatingWeek 4: Sustainable Eating

“How to make choices that are good for you and the planet. Understand the difference between local, organic, and sustainable. Also, gardening as a way of getting children excited about fresh foods.”


  • What is Sustainable Eating?
  • Growing a Kitchen Garden
  • Cooking Demonstrations

Sustainable Eating

  • Organic fruits and vegetables indicates that the crops were grown without any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
  • Organic food also does not involve genetically modified organisms.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides are made of fossil fuels, meaning that they release greenhouse gases into our environment.
  • Extra fertilizers in the soil run off into rivers, streams and eventually lakes and sea which causes a dead zone where there’s not enough oxygen to support marine life.
  • Pesticide usage can lead to its resistance and cause the emergence of superbugs.
  • ‘Locally grown’ indicates that there are no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, no genetically engineered crops and no sewage sludge used in the production.
  • The closer you can get to your own kitchen garden, no matter how small that garden is, the better.
  • Buying local does not mean spending more.
  • When food is transported and stored for long period of time, the nutrients is reduced.
  • Whenever possible, buy organic, if possible buy locally grown or plant a small kitchen garden which is even better.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/p275k/sustainable-eating

What does “organic” mean?

  • Organic is a term that is certified by the government through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • The term organic does not always mean that the food is healthy, especially if the food is highly processed.
  • Pesticides and fertilizers are used to help us grow large amounts of food but they cause serious environmental and health impacts.
  • For meat and milk, organic grade means the animals did not receive unnecessary antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Growth hormones are allowed in the U.S., but banned in the European Union, Canada and other countries.
  • Farm workers who are regularly exposed to pesticides can face health threats including poisoning, cancer, birth defects, and learning disabilities.
  • Organic food is better for the environment and the people.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/jYGtf/what-does-organic-mean

What does “locally grown” mean?

  • Local food is fresher because they take less time to get to you.
  • They contain more nutrients and people often find that they taste better.
  • They also have lower carbon footprint as they didn’t travel as far.
  • Seasonal food is the cheapest at the height of the season when the supply is large.
  • Local food does not carry the same travel cost as food from far away.
  • Buying locally also supports your local economy, especially at the farmer’s market.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/5HVib/what-does-locally-grown-mean

Healthy People – Healthy Planet

  • Choices that are healthiest for us turn out to be healthiest for our planet as well.
  • Limiting meat and increasing vegetables in our diet is good for our health and better for the Earth.
  • Modern methods of meat production harm the environment.
  • A closed loop system occurs when cow gets energy from the grass and grass gets the energy from the sun.
  • These days, cows are no longer grass fed but most of them are being fed corn.
  • Factories that run these are called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO).
  • When cows eat corn instead of grass, they fatten up more quickly.
  • Cows in CAFO live in a very crowded condition so they are more likely to get diseases.
  • 80% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. go to this kind of commercial production of animals.
  • Chicken is more energy efficient than beef and it also has less saturated fat.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/tG3K8/healthy-people-healthy-planet

Growing a Kitchen Garden with Rita Bottini

  • Gardening is one of the ways to get the children getting excited about eating fruits and vegetables.
  • Many seeds available in the market that come with information for gardeners.
  • Grab an empty pot, start filling it with slightly damp potting mix.
  • Tap it down a little bit but not too compact that it cannot breathe.
  • Basil is an annual warm season plant so it wants to be out in the garden in the summer.
  • Size of the seed determines planting depth to some degree.
  • Basil seed (pea size) would go half an inch to an inch deep.
  • Lightly cover the seeds after planting.
  • Basil seed should come up in five to ten days.
  • Use simple spray bottle to water the soil.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/HbLLT/growing-a-kitchen-garden-with-rita-bottini

Growing a Kitchen Garden

  • Even with a small kitchen space, it’s still worthwhile to plant a few seeds.
  • Tomato beds is also not a bad idea.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/7qNUe/growing-a-kitchen-garden

Fish (for sustainable eating)

  • Children are more likely to eat fish if it doesn’t taste too fishy.
  • Garlic is a good way to get rid of fishy odor that some fish can have.
  • In the mayonnaise, add a bit garlic and some chives, and then some salt and pepper.
  • Lining a container with foil makes it easier to clean up afterwards.
  • For some fish, there’s a bit of a concern about mercury levels in them so try not to have them everyday.
  • Fish should be made with high temperature and short amount of time.
  • Slather the mixed sauce on the fish generously.
  • Put the fish in the oven when it’s ready, temperature could range from 400 to 500 degrees.
  • When the fish is cooked, it flakes apart nice and easy.
  • Usually the time it takes is about 15-20 minutes.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/hABA4/fish

Soups (for sustainable eating)

  • Before cracking a garlic, use the flat side of your knife blade to give it a whack so that it cracks easier.
  • Ingredients required for this recipe: onions, garlic, carrot, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, baby zucchini, chopped chicken.
  • Carrots and potatoes take longer to cook than other vegetables in general.
  • Principle to go by when making soup, salad and stir fry: try to get as many colors in it as possible.
  • Don’t overcook zucchini because they tend to get mushy.
  • Never cut anything on a board that you’ve cut raw meat on.
  • Start by sautéing garlic and onion with some olive oil, heat is on medium.
  • When the onions turn brown, add in the chopped chicken and spices that you like at this time.
  • Salt, sugar and some lemon is then added to balance the taste.
  • Then, potatoes and carrots are added to the pot and cooked for a bit.
  • After a few minutes, add in all other vegetables and pour some broth over, turn up the heat and wait for it to boil.
  • After it boils, cover the pot with lid, turn the heat down and let it simmer for a while.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/wfyTV/soups

Steamed Vegetables (for sustainable eating)

  • Key to keeping the steamed vegetables nutrients intact is to use just a little bit of water.
  • Add a little bit of salt to the cut vegetables.
  • Don’t let it overcook, just soft enough.
  • Ingredients for making white sauce: butter, salt, pepper, milk, flour, grated cheese.
  • Melt the butter in a pan, when it’s almost melted, add a little bit of flour.
  • Make sure there is no lump.
  • Add the milk, some salt, and pepper.
  • Add the grated cheese.
  • When vegetables are done, pour the homemade white sauce over it before serving.
Chop Chop MOOCs’ summary of https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/lecture/jCw2V/steam-vegetables

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 photo: depositphotos/whitestorm4

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