NEW HOPE, Minn. (WCCO) — Local schools have been working to introduce more nutritious menus, but getting kids to eat healthier at home can be a different story.

Recently, Sonnesyn Elementary School offered some help. Students there were paid a visit by chef Mark Crane, who was ready to show the kids how to make foods such as macaroni and cheese, omelets, smoothies and parfaits.

Normally, Crane is busy preparing meals for guests at Sofitel Minneapolis, a four-star hotel. Every now and then he takes a break to teach kids healthy eating habits by showing them how to use fruits and vegetables in appealing dishes for younger pallets.

“People have the concept that healthy food is time intensive,” said Crane. “It’s really not. It’s quick and simple.”

The visit is part of a program the hotel started late in 2011 geared to help kids try new foods.

“It was really good. I was shocked how good it was,” said student Kelly O’Keefe.

Crane and his team hope that, by capturing their imagination, these students take what they’ve learned and use it at home.

After trying the different dishes, student Jack Knox-Carruth was ready for more.

“I want to go home and make it all,” he said.

Crane says he loves his job, but it’s good to get out of the kitchen every once and a while and hang out with the kids.

“We’ve done three or four schools and only one kids has not wanted to try something. That’s pretty impressive,” said Crane.

Crane also visits older students. When he does he shows them how to make more elaborate dishes, like those on the menu at Sofitel.



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