Nigel Jacob: Shape Your Future Recipe Contest Winner
As part of their mission to educate Oklahomans to make healthy choices, Shape Your Future partnered with TulsaKids for a contest to seek out a young chef who could create a healthy, delicious recipe packed with fruits or vegetables.
Shape Your Future encourages everyone to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, and 13-year-old Nigel Jacob’s creation hit the mark. His recipe for Grilled Pineapple-Mango Shrimp Kebabs with Rainbow Cheese & Fruit Salad is a winning combination of lean protein, fruit and dairy that fills the plate with colorful, healthy foods that kids love.
Young people like Nigel can lead the way in creating a bright future for Oklahoma. The state has some of the highest child and adult obesity rates in the U.S. Shape Your Future wants to change that statistic by educating all Oklahomans about making healthy choices. They want families to know that besides eating fresh fruits and veggies and drinking plenty of water, kids need 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults need 30 minutes per day.
Make meal prep a fun, family activity! Start by making Nigel’s recipe together.
TK: How long have you been cooking, and what are your favorite things to make?
Nigel: I’ve been cooking since I was maybe 7 years old. My favorite things to make are fried rice and curried beef rolls.
TK: Where did you get the inspiration for your winning recipe?
Nigel: It is simple, healthy and fun to make, and the fruit salad is colorful and delicious!
TK: Is this the first time you’ve tried to come up with your own recipe?
Nigel: No, I like to create recipes quite often.
TK: Have you ever had any kitchen disasters?
Nigel: Yes, a couple of years ago I almost burned down our entire kitchen just from microwaving popcorn. Our house smelled like burnt popcorn for days.
TK: Shape Your Future is focused on encouraging families to live healthy lifestyles. How do you think planning and cooking your own meals at home helps you eat more healthy foods?
Nigel: The more often you eat at home, the less you will crave fast food and make unhealthy choices. When you cook your own food, you choose your ingredients and can select healthy options, too.
TK: What advice would you give to other kids who might want to learn to cook meals for themselves or their families?
Nigel: Make sure to get your parents’ help, especially if it’s your first time cooking. And you can make it fun, too, and maybe do it at least once a week. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes, add new ingredients and even create your own recipes. Be creative.
TK: What other things do you like to do besides cooking?
Nigel: Lots of things. Reading, coding, golf, basketball, ping pong, playing piano, playing pool, playing video games, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
TK: Do you have any immediate goals you want to accomplish? What do you think you’d like to do in the future?
Nigel: First, I want to start taking flight lessons soon, just like my sister does, and learn how to fly airplanes by the time I’m 16. [I want to] continue getting good grades and get accepted into an Ivy League school. I’m hoping Harvard Medical. I’d like to become a neurosurgeon.
TK: Tell us a fun fact (or two) about you.
Nigel: I was able to climb inside to the top of one of the pyramids in Giza. I have a piece of the Berlin Wall when we got to visit Germany in 2019.
Grilled Pineapple-Mango Shrimp Kebabs
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons hot sauce of your choice, optional (I like it spicy, so I always add it, using Tabasco original red sauce.)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice from about 2 large limes
- 1 pound large shrimp (31-40 count), peeled and deveined (You can use fresh or frozen, thawed shrimp.)
- Mango chunks (I use a bag of pre-cut frozen mango and thaw first.)
- 3/4 pound pineapple chunks, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Canola oil for grilling
- Freshly chopped cilantro and/or green onion for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the Tabasco sauce, soy sauce, orange juice and lime juice. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1-2 hours, tossing occasionally. If using wooden skewers, soak in warm water while the shrimp marinates. Meanwhile, prepare the pineapple if needed.
Preheat the grill to medium high heat. (With help from my mom, I used the grill, but you can also use a stovetop or oven for this recipe.)
Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the marinade for grilling. Thread the shrimp onto skewers, alternating with the pineapple and mango. Add any veggies you like to the skewers. I like to add squash.
Lightly brush the grill with canola oil, then place the shrimp kebabs on the grill. Grill the shrimp for 3 minutes, brushing with the marinade, then turn and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, brushing with the marinade again until the shrimp are just cooked through. Remove to a serving plate and garnish with cilantro and green onion.
The rainbow salad is fun to make and not only looks colorful on your plate, but you’re also getting so many healthy fruits and some low-fat dairy. When cutting, make sure to get help from your parents. I use strawberries, mandarin oranges, cheddar cheese, blueberries and grapes. Arrange in a rainbow on each plate. Enjoy!