Cooking Matters

Amanda Miller & Janeth Orozco, FoodWIse

The local FoodWIse program was one of the ten teams in the state selected to pilot test the Cooking Matters curriculum for parents and caregivers of young children. This new curriculum was developed to increase access to nutrition and food skills education for low-income families and contains shorter, more flexible, and family-friendly lessons. Each lesson provides the opportunity to participate in hands-on cooking activities.

During the fall, Sheboygan County FoodWIse was able to partner with Family Connections, a child care resource and referral agency, to deliver a 5 lesson series to families. During those lessons, parents learned about adapting recipes to fit their family needs, meal planning, how to make healthy, homemade snacks, and preparing fruits and vegetables. At the end of each lesson, families were able to take home the needed groceries to prepare the recipes at home. Parents and children were able to cook a healthy snack and one meal or side dish.

The response from participating parents was very positive. Parents were excited to participate in hands-on cooking activities with their children and were surprised to learn how much young children can help while preparing meals. When asked how she plans to use what was learned at this lesson one parent said she plans to make the meals learned during the lesson and use a healthier, leaner meat for her meals. At the end of the series, one parent commented that she appreciated the information that was shared and that had led her to pay more attention to what she is eating and was happy because she felt that she was eating healthier foods.

For the spring implementation of this grant, FoodWIse will provide a four-lesson series to WIC and Head Start families. WIC and Head Start are excited to participate in this pilot since they have heard great feedback from families that participated during the fall.