One of the things I have enjoyed about having my children in the preschool classes at El Papalote School in Playa del Carmen is the lunch program. Rather than each child bringing his or her individual lunch everyday, each mother caters lunch for the entire class one day a month. There is a list of suggested meals supplied for the families that is designed to reflect a balanced diet throughout the week. One of the best aspects of this meal program is that rather than our children only eating the foods that are customarily served in our home, they are exposed to meals and food items from 21 other families from all over the world! If your child insists on Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches everyday, he will either go hungry come lunch time or, more likely, learn to open his mind and palette to new and different foods. Having 21 other children eating and enjoying lunch also goes a long way toward encouraging a broader range of “acceptable” foods.
Consistently, over the past four years, when my turn came up to provide lunch, I have prepared meals that we would commonly eat at home. Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce and sauteed vegetables, pasta salad with tuna fish, fresh fruit with yogurt and granola. Pretty standard stuff for an American household and easy to make and transport in large quantities. In general, unless I get a bit heavy handed with the seasonings, the food is well received by the majority of the students. Recently, I decided to play it safe and make what has been described to me as Mexican comfort food, Molletes.
The ingredients for Molletes, sometimes refered to as Mexican pizza, are simple and inexpensive. Bolillos, small rolls cut in half, refried or pureed beans and shreaded soft manchego cheese. I like to top mine with fresh chopped tomatoes and white onion. If you like a bit of spice, add in some minced serano peppers.
Top with manchego cheese and pop them into a 350F.oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with tomato and onion. These are so simple to make, even Birdie and Cole can do most of it, using the microwave rather than the oven.
This is a meal that is familiar and comforting to all the children in Cole’s class. Best of all, providing lunch for the whole class and the teachers cost just $100 pesos. That’s less than $7.00! In today’s tight times, an easy, inexpensive, healthy meal is much appreciated by everyone!
Written by Michele Kinnon , Marketing Chairperson for Taste of Playa 2010. Originally published on her regional interest blog www.LifesaBeachBlog.com .
Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Reducing meat consumption by 15% (the equivalent of one day a week) lessens the risk of chronic preventable illness and has a strong positive impact on the environment.