Last updated: August 28. 2013 3:50AM - 119 Views

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Starting today, area residents will have an opportunity to learn to make simple, healthy meals during several cooking classes offered by the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department and Healthy U.

The lessons are part of the community portion of Healthy U, said Sarah Nail, community outreach coordinator at Bothwell Regional Health Center and chairwoman of Healthy Living Action Group, which is responsible for Healthy U.

“(During the first year of Healthy U) we saw a real need for information about nutrition and healthy cooking,” Nail said. “We wanted to find a really practical way to actually show people how to prepare simple, healthy meals for their families.”

All the cooking instructors have a background in nutrition, Nail added, which will give participants the opportunity to ask questions and learn tips and tricks from experts. Each “make and take” class will show students how to make a meal then allow them to take it home afterward.

“The classes are free but participants do have to bring their own ingredients,” Nail said. “We did it that way to keep the cost down and everything needed to cook with costs less than around $30 total, which means people who are using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) or EBT cards will be able to participate.”

Another advantage to the cooking classes is that they are offered twice, on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, Nail added.

“We know how busy people can be so we wanted to make sure if someone had a standing Tuesday soccer practice they take their kids to, for example, they could catch the class when it’s held on Thursday,” she said.

Each class will have a different theme:

• Freezer meals: “Students will be divided into groups and each will prepare a different meal that’s easy to freeze, then everyone will share,” Nail said. “At the end there will be three take home meals to put right in your freezer. Then, when you’re having a hectic weekday night, you don’t have to think about dinner — just take it out and warm it up.”

• Mommy and Me: “One of the challenges when families begin to eat healthy is getting the kids on board,” Nail said. “Kids who are involved in cooking are more likely to want to eat what they made. This class will be great for kids and teenagers.”

• Four for Five: “This class will use four common ingredients that you probably already have on hand, to make five different meals,” Nail said. “It’s really a great way to show you don’t need a ton of fancy ingredients to make something delicious, just a little creativity.”

• Meatless Main: “For some people, a meal isn’t a meal without meat, but there are so many really delicious vegetarian options,” Nail said. “Not to mention, cooking a meatless meal keeps the

costs down.”

• Cooking for Two: “A pretty basic class on how to cut down recipes and prepare them for just two people,” Nail said.

• Sweet and Salty:  “This one will focus on guiltless desserts and snacks,” Nail said.

“Sometimes people have this impression that healthy eating means boring or complicated meals but that’s not really true at all,” Nail said. “I think these classes are a way we can help combat some of those stereotypes about healthy living.”

Classes are limited to 12 participants. For more information or to enroll, call Sedalia Parks and Recreation at 826-4930.



WHAT: Healthy U cooking classes

WHEN: 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, today through May 2

WHERE: Smith-Cotton Junior High School, 312 E. Broadway Blvd.

COST: Free, but participants must bring ingredients




Today: Freezer bag meals

Thursday: Mommy and Me

April 2: Four for Five

April 4: Meatless Main Dishes

April 9: Cooking for Two

April 11: Sweet and Salty

April 16: Mommy and Me

April 18: Freezer bag meals

April 23: Meatless Main Dishes

April 25: Four for Five

April 30: Sweet and Salty

May 2: Cooking for Two

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