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Cooking Matters for Parents (Pulaski County)

“Cooking Matters for Parents” Pulaski participants pictured above along with two volunteer chefs from Virginia Tech.

“Cooking Matters for Parents” Pulaski participants pictured above along with two volunteer chefs from Virginia Tech.

Virginia Cooperative Extension office – Pulaski Unit

From March 24 through April 28 Pulaski County Extension has hosted the class “Cooking Matters for Parents” at the First United Methodist Church in Dublin. Participants learned skills and tips to shop for healthy foods on a budget, ways to get the whole family excited about healthy eating, food safety and the opportunity to try new foods each week. 

The Pulaski County “Cooking Matters for Parents” course had a total of 16 participants, ten of them attending more than four of the sessions and receiving graduation certificates. For five weeks participants were engaged in a nutrition lesson and then helped prepare a complete meal. The meals prepared each week were chicken stir-fry, vegetable lasagna, beans and rice botana, baked flaked chicken, and the works pizza. At the end of each lesson participants received a bag of food to take home that had all the ingredients to prepare this same meal for their families. This course was made possible at no cost to participants due to Grant funding obtained through Share Our Strength.

Pre and Post course evaluations indicated that many course participants households participant in WIC, SNAP, free or reduced price school breakfast and lunch, head start, free summer meals and the food pantry.

Some behavior changes documented by participants were:

  • 80 percent of participants now eat fruit (banana, apple, melon etc.) at least once a day compared to 20 percent at the start of the course.
  • There was an increase in number of participants who now frequently use the “nutrition facts” on food labels.
  • 100 percent of participants are somewhat confident and very confident in their basic cooking skills, buying healthier foods for their families on a budget, cooking healthier foods for their families and helping their family eat healthier.

Participant comments on how this course affected their lives include:

  • I now think before I buy.
  • It helped me with confidence in preparing meals.
  • Showed and taught me new ideas.
  • We as a family eat healthier. Already we see a difference in how we feel day to day. As a result we are introducing more and more new healthy things all the time!

If you are interested in learning about future Extension programs contact the Pulaski Extension Office at 549-980-7761 or Sarah Burkett at sburkett@vt.edu.

 

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