Those of us raised in 'healthy' kitchens often take for granted what we know about food.
How did you learn...
The difference between multigrain and whole grain
How to season with herbs and spices instead of just salt
Or even ways to sneak in some extra fruits and veggies into our diet?
Share Our Strength's program called Cooking Matters is helping low-income families learn the basics of a healthier kitchen.
Recently I sat in on a few Cooking Matters classes and saw first-hand how the program is changing the way people think about the foods they buy and eat. Many do not know HOW to read a nutrition label correctly. Most are on a very tight budget and unfortunately processed foods are often cheaper, and they are certainly easier to prepare (or so we think) than fresh. Yet ALL of the participants in the classes I went to were eager and excited to learn how to cook healthier foods for themselves and their families!
Nutrition, Discussion, and Demos
Each Cooking Matters class has three parts: nutrition, food and cooking
A volunteer nutrition expert (in our case a graduate student who was an excellent teacher) starts off reviewing what they discussed in the previous class and then discussing the lesson for that week. The lesson can cover things like cooking safety, cooking as a family, nutrition information on fruits, veggies, whole grains and fats, and snack options.
In the classes I sat in on we covered how to read food labels (and not just box covers) so you know you are getting real whole grain in your diet. We discussed the difference between good fat versus bad fat.
You notice in the video that WE means the whole group contributes. We traded snack ideas and ways to combine protein and a fruit or veggie to fill us up. And most importantly we learned WHY we need to eat things that have lots of vitamins, fiber, and whole grains.
I especially liked the demonstrations like...
this is how much fat you'd be eating in a meal that consists of a Whopper with Cheese, Medium Fries, and a Medium Shake
on the LEFT is an artery that is clogged....see the blood clot? On the right is a healthy one!
Nothing like lard and a big blood clot to get one's attention!
Disclosure: ConAgra Food Foundation and Share our Strength paid for my trip to Texas and I will receive a stipend for my work helping to tell the story and promote Cooking Matters. As always, all opinions and experiences are my own and this post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published.