Healthy Cooking Classes

Some of us have a passion for preparing food, while for others its more of a nuisance.  Some people may want to understand nutrition and seek out information, while other people may find it too confusing or haven’t found a reason to care.  Some people grow up around family members that cook, that love nutritious, fresh foods, that have a garden or a farm, while others of us have grown up around fast food, microwavable dinners, and snack food.  The healthy cooking classes that Hunger-Free and Healthy offers through its partner, Cooking Matters takes all of this into account when giving healthy cooking classes to adults, teens, or parents and children.  Cooking and nutrition can be both complex and simple at the same time, and it does not have to be expensive.  That’s the Cooking Matters model.

Each class is six weeks long, with the classes meeting once a week for two hours.The classes are taught by volunteer nutritionists and chefs and incorporate hands-on nutrition and cooking lessons.  During a typical class session, the participants will first talk about the nutrition topic of the day, ranging from the importance of fiber and where to get it, to why we need a range of vegetables and how to incorporate them into our existing diet.  Then, the class will move to the kitchen where they each take part in the preparation of a full-meal that incorporates vegetables/fruit, lean protein, and grain/starch.  The class then eats the meal together while reflecting on the process and asking any questions.  At the end of each class, each participant takes home a bag of groceries and a recipe so that they may replicate the meal for their families.

Hunger-Free & Healthy began offering these classes in 2008 through its pilot project.  They were so successful that they continued to be a part of the implementation phase.  In 2009, funds from The Health Foundation of Central MA helped renovate the kitchen at the Fanning Building, and Cooking Matters was able to offer five classes over the course of the year.  Roughly seventy adults and eleven children passed through these classes, often with great results and a lot of enthusiasm.  Students rave that the class has given them new ideas for helping their families eat healthy and has helped them save money at the same time.

In 2010 we worked with Cooking Matters and the Regional Environmental Council to transition coordination of the classes to the REC.  The REC has become a satellite partner of Cooking Matters and will be offering classes at a variety of locations throughout Worcester in 2011.  For more information contact Grace Schafer Duffy at the REC. or call 508-799-3139.


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