Cooking Matters helps parents and children work together for a healthier future

September 21st, 2015 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Written by Anna Curry, Cooking Matters at the Store Class Coordinator, Visiting Nurse Association

01a965fa345e95f40a7db248239250cf6316800975It is no surprise that childhood obesity is an issue for many children in our country. But what does surprise many is the close link between obesity and hunger. 1 in 5 children in the US are considered food insecure. For these families, it is not just about getting adequate calories, but also making those calories nutrient rich. But on a limited budget, that is easier said than done! Many of these families have members that are obese but still considered malnourished because they are not eating the right kinds of foods. That is why education for these families is so important! That is where Cooking Matters comes in.

01a88992a79ccfee28db95ef8e40a6e11196a5a5abShare Our Strength’s Cooking Matters has been teaching families how to eat healthier on a budget and cook more at home for over 10 years. Based out of the Visiting Nurse Association here in Omaha, these classes are taught by professional chefs and dietitians and really focus on getting families with limited income to stretch their food dollars, cook more at home, and make healthier choices. In 2015 so far, 670 participants have graduated from a Cooking Matters course and 370 have taken Cooking Matters at the Store grocery store tours.

01d6c7df43d5330be680f6a64e09fafa9de8189977In the last year, Cooking Matters has created new partnerships to further our reach and provide more incentives for families enrolled in the courses. For the second year in a row, Cooking Matters Omaha received one of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Preventing Childhood Obesity Community Grants to host our signature courses for families right at the hospital. In these classes, parents and their children work together to make healthy, budget friendly meals and learn about MyPlate, whole grains, fruits and veggies, meal planning, physical activity and more. The families all said that after taking the class, their kids were more involved in cooking at home and were trying new foods. Seeing families work together is definitely the highlight of the classes. The next class 6 week class at Children’s Hospital starts Tuesday, September 22nd. Click here for more information — it’s not too late to get signed up!

01f3d05904e2e00bfb444300c41b6cff82d60abf1fIn 2014 and 2015, Cooking Matters also partnered with Tomāto Tomäto and Christian Outreach Program of Elkhorn to not only provide courses but also CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares of fresh, local produce every week for the families in the class. Many of the families would not normally have access to the produce so it was great to watch the kids try new vegetables and love them. The families were able to learn how to prepare the produce they got each week and take it home with them to make again. After making vegetarian eggplant gyros in a class, one mom said that her family had never eaten a meat free meal but that she really enjoyed the recipe (so did the kids!) and she would be making it again at home!

2015 has been a busy year for the Cooking Matters Omaha team but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It is truly amazing to watch families try new foods, enjoy cooking together, and learn that healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive or boring.

For more information about Cooking Matters Omaha or a list of available classes and store tours, contact Anna Curry at acurry@thevnacares.org or 402-930-4069.

 

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