AAs part of their mission to educate Oklahoma residents to make healthy choices, Shape Your Future (shapeyourfutureok.com) has partnered with TulsaKids for a competition to find a young chef who can create a healthy recipe. and delicious filled with fruits or vegetables. Shape Your Future encourages everyone to fill half their plate with fruit and veg at every meal, and 9-year-old Serena Siddiqui’s creation hit the mark. His recipe for Salmon tacos is a winning combination of lean protein, whole grains and colorful vegetables, delicious, healthy and visually appealing.
Young people like Serena can lead the way in creating a bright future for Oklahoma. The state is classified 47e nationwide for health and has some of the highest childhood and adult obesity rates in the United States. Shape Your Future wants to change that statistic by educating everyone in Oklahoma to make healthy choices. They want families to know that in addition to eating fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water, children need 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults need 30 minutes per day. And, of course, staying tobacco-free is always the best choice for a healthy lifestyle.
Serena used her passion for healthy eating to create this year’s winning recipe. Its unique version of tacos combines omega-3 rich salmon with savory spices and colorful vegetables to make it a meal worthy of family dinners!
TK: How did you design your award-winning recipe?
Serena: I thought about the healthy options we eat on a daily basis. I have drawn pictures of different foods and ingredients that I like: avocados, salmon, sweet potatoes and salad. With my mom’s help, I created a recipe that not only tastes great, but is also healthy and easy to prepare.
TK: What did you learn from this experience?
Serena: I’ve learned that healthy eating can be better than junk food. Almond flour tortillas are healthier than regular tortillas and they taste exactly the same!
TK: How did you develop your interest in cooking?
Serena: I watch my mom cook all the time and I love to help in the kitchen. And, in my mind, I thought that one day I wanted to cook dinner for my family.
TK: What’s your favorite thing to cook?
Serena: Homemade pizza with my aunt.
TK: What advice do you have for other children who want to cook and eat healthy foods?
Serena: Do not eat a lot in restaurants. Have a vegetable and a fruit at every meal. If you want to try something new, try it at least six or seven times until you make up your mind whether you like it or not.
TK: What are you and your family doing to eat healthy meals?
Serena: My mom and I go to the grocery store and she lets my sister and I pick out the proteins and veggies we’re going to cook for dinner that night. Our family usually doesn’t eat dessert – only on special occasions.
TK: What are your favorite places to eat in Tulsa?
Serena: My favorite place to eat in Tulsa is Olive Garden. I love their salad and their breadsticks. I also like the sushi from Sushi Hana and Sprouts. One of my other favorite restaurants is Amazing Thai.
TK: Besides cooking, what are your hobbies?
Serena: I like to draw in my sketchbook. I also like to read and do scientific experiments. My favorite experience is creating slime and trying new recipes to create different consistencies of slime.
TK: What do you want to do in the future?
Serena: When I grow up I would love to be an astronomer because I think outer space is amazing and there is no gravity there!
TK: Who inspires you?
Serena: I have read biographies on Ellen Ochoa and Harriet Tubman. They inspired me because they were both women who changed the world.
TK: What are you enjoying?
Serena: This year I went to Hawaii during spring break and went surfing with my uncle. I loved it because I like to try new things even if that’s not what I want to do. I ended up loving it and can’t wait to do it again!
Serena’s Salmon Tacos
- 2 avocados
- 1 large tomato (chopped)
- 1 lime
- onion (chopped)
- Chopped cilantro
- Â½ teaspoon of cumin
- Â½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Â½ teaspoon of paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb of salmon
- 2 TBLS of olive oil
- 1 lemon
- Almond flour or whole wheat tortillas
- Cut the avocados and put them in a bowl. Add the chopped tomato, cilantro and chopped onion. Stir in the cumin, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Squeeze the lime juice and mix for more flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the salmon on aluminum foil, add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook the salmon for about 20 minutes until it crumbles with a fork. You can also wrap the tortillas in foil and reheat them in the oven.
- Remove the salmon from the oven and cut, grate or break into pieces. Put some salmon in a tortilla, add some avocado salad on top and enjoy!