This summer the Vegan Action team had the pleasure to join the Girls For a Change camp to teach a six part-food series to a wonderful group of young girls. This food series was all about making fresh food that you could find in your garden and turned them into delicious and nutritious meals. The girls were eager each week to have a hands-on approach at making a new meal while they worked in a group with fellow campers and Vegan Action staff. We also took time to teach the girls basic kitchen skills so that they could help in their kitchens at home. Girls for a Change is a nonprofit focused on teaching young girls of color valuable lessons such as female empowerment and teaching them to see bright futures. The team at Girls For a Change holds to this mission by showing the girls their potential through development courses with innovative teaching. Here are some highlights of our six part series:
Throughout the program, we focused on many simple but flavorful recipes to show that even with just a few fruits and vegetables you could make a delicious snack or meal. We also took time to taste fruits that might not grow here in Virginia and that may not be native to North America. While we learned and tried many wonderful foods, we also took time to learn how important veggies were for our bodies. Throughout the session the girls learned meaningful facts about all the veggies we incorporated into our meals. Some of the vegetables we covered were tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, Swiss chard, and beets. For our first week we made Swiss Chard wraps paired with a lovely kale salad. The girls enjoyed this dish as for many, Swiss chard was not a vegetable they had not tried before. The girls also enjoyed learning to make a vinaigrette for their summer blueberry kale salad and picking up the technique of massaging kale.
The next week we showed the girls how to make a “Pink Dip” out of roasted beets and cannellini beans! It was a hit all around and a unique way to eat beets, highlighting their color and how great they can taste as just a snack. For our fruit of the week, we tried lychee, a jelly like-fruit that can be found in China. The girls had mixed reviews on the fruit, but all showed enthusiasm to try something new and some girls were interested in seconds.
For our third week we learned how to make a simple but flavorful pasta salad that was perfect to make for lunch. Week four was about highlighting one of the most Instagrammed breakfast foods, Avocado Toast! Though this toast wasn’t just toast with Avocado spread over but a Southwest Style Avocado toast, made with the works: tomatoes, corn, red onions, and black beans.
For week five we switched it up a bit and split into groups and made three different smoothies: a peach & carrot smoothie, watermelon & peach, and spinach-turmeric smoothie, which gave the girls a new experience with smoothies by incorporating vegetables. Each group also made enough to share with the other campers.
Our final week was create your own dairy free pizza, which the girls really enjoyed as they had the opportunity to add their favorite veggie toppings to their slices. The girls were encouraged to add vegetables to their pizza they wouldn’t usually add.
During our plant-based pizza creation day, the girls created a beautiful display called “Eat A Rainbow.” For this activity we asked the girls to think about what fruit or vegetable would correspond with each color of the rainbow. The girls created a beautiful display featuring tomatoes to eggplants! The girls really put their minds together to think about all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that they could incorporate into their daily lives.
We really enjoyed our time with the Girls for a Change camp this summer, and hope to see them next year! Also we can’t wait to hear what yummy vegan creations they created with their families! And if you are in the Richmond area and are interested in having a plant based demo with your organization, contact us on our website!