Macaroni and Cheese can be made with whole milk, a stick of butter, enriched semolina elbows, and a plethora of full-fat cheeses.
Or it can be lightened with whole wheat pasta, skim milk, and low-fat cheeses.
It’s the second recipe that kids learned last month at the ShopRite in White Plains, as part of a new afterschool program run by the Jerry Alleyne Memorial Foundation that combines 10 and Under Tennis instruction with hands-on lessons in nutrition and healthy cooking.
The program, called "Cooking Matters for Kids," is being offered once a week by ShopRite nutritionists, and is part of an array of programs offered by JAMF to help kids develop the skills they need to succeed both on the court and throughout their lives.
"They need to be healthy to play tennis and perform well in class," said JAMF Director and Founder Loretta Van Raalte. "The earlier they learn the importance of a well-balanced diet and the benefits of tennis, the better off they will be."
The nutrition sessions started about three weeks ago, and have focused on the basics of a healthy diet: from reducing sugar and fat to eating whole grains.
During the first part of the class, the students learned how to read an analyze nutrition labels, figuring out how much sugar was in different foods. During the second half, they cut vegetables and helped prepare the healthy version of Mac and Cheese.
The sessions are part of the afterschool program called "Amazing Afternoons," run by Westchester Jewish Community Services, which provides academic, youth development and enrichment activities for students.
"It’s important to have a wide range of hands-on activities that keep kids engaged and help them learn," said Mary Figueroa, Director of the ‘Amazing Afternoons’ Program. "The tennis and nutrition programs are a great fit."
But the kids in the JAMF don’t only benefit from cooking classes. They also learn from playing tennis.
On Sunday mornings, JAMF offers an academy at New Rochelle Racquet Club, where kids get to learn and improve their skills. The players also compete in USTA Jr. Team Tennis, and last year took home the National title in the 18 and Under Intermediate division.
Jason Strudwick, a senior at Valhalla High School in Valhalla, NY, has been attending the academy since he was 10 years old.
"I was always motivated to get up early on Sunday mornings," said Strudwick. "JAMF's early morning clinics gave me extra court time, and instruction from the coaches helped me develop my skills and confidence as a player."
For the past two summers, Strudwick has also given back. Teaching 10 and Under Tennis to kids each Sunday morning. Now, he is playing tournaments and practicing, and hoping to play college tennis in the tri-state area.
"The motto of our foundation, is "teaching life's lessons through tennis," said Strudwick. "I believe our success on and off the court is the result of friendship, hard work and perseverance among all of our players and encouragement from our parents and coaches."
To learn more about JAMF’s programs or to enroll your child, visit http://jamftennis.com/ or call Van Raalte at (914) 472-6415.