Cooking Connected Returns
by Enrique Ortiz
SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator
Food prices around the country are on the rise so having the ability to cook affordable well-balanced meals is more crucial than ever. More and more people are trying to cook at home, but many are unaware how to or were never properly taught how to cook. With this being a massive problem in our community, I would like to highlight one of our upcoming programs called Cooking Connected! SNAP-Ed has hosted Cooking Connected in the past and will be returning shortly! Cooking Connected comes from our SNAP-Ed curriculum Create Better Health. The course was developed and evaluated by a team of SNAP-Ed program specialists, registered dietitians, and Utah State University Extension nutrition faculty. The goal of Cooking Connected is to educate families on nutrition and have them practice their cooking skills to reinforce how to lead a healthy life. We want our SNAP-Ed audience to have the self-efficacy to cook easy, affordable, and well-balanced meals.
Cooking Connected is a fun interactive series that takes place virtually (via Zoom) this allows us to connect with families in their own kitchens and teach them basic nutrition and practice their cooking skills. Knowing behavior change generally does not occur after hearing a message only one time or after one class; this program is a designed six–week course that builds off one another. Each week/lesson has two components, the first component of each class is a nutrition education portion that is based on the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, This means
there is strong scientific evidence that supports each of the recommendations of what to consume from the food groups and how often we should be physically active. The second portion is a cooking demonstration in which we will all cook together. Each recipe is centered around the nutritional topic we will discuss. Each recipe is also created with the flexibility of multiple substitutions/alternatives to allow participants to substitute or add ingredients to each recipe with items they have in their home pantry.
Here is the list of lessons that will be discussed with the meals that will be cooked along with it:
- Introduction to MyPlate
- Skillet Meal
- Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping
- Chicken Casserole
- Nutrition Label Facts
- Black Bean Quesadilla
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Protein & Food Safety
- Easy Scrambled Eggs
- Healthy Eating Patterns
At the beginning of each week the participants will pick up a meal kit from our office. Each meal kit will contain all the ingredients needed for the lesson’s recipe. Families will take their meal kits home, unpack it, and then cook it with us in their own kitchen, we will be cooking along with them in the Dreher Family 4-H Building Kitchen. During each cooking session, we will be discussing how the meal we are making relates to the topic we will discuss in the first half of the class! This will be SNAP-Ed’s third round of Cooking Connected and we are very exited to get things started!
For any questions regarding Cooking Connected, email Community Health and Wellness Agent Kaitlyn Peine (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Enrique Ortiz, SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator (email@example.com).