18 and older
Cooking Matters for Parents teaches participants how to raise healthy eaters, get kids to love their fruits and veggies, involve their kids in the planning, shopping, and cooking of healthy meals.
Each Cooking Matters six-week course teaches kids and parents important lessons about self-sufficiency in the kitchen. Participants practice fundamental lessons including knife skills, reading ingredient labels, and making a healthy meal for a family of four on a $10 budget. Adults and teens take home a bag of groceries after each class so they can practice the recipes taught that day.
Cooking Matters Massachusetts collaborates with community-based organizations like Head Start centers and after-school programs to reach families in comfortable and accessible settings. In addition to recruiting course participants, community partners provide kitchen and classroom space, as well as interpreters and childcare as needed. A Cooking Matters MA course coordinator serves as the liaison to the community partner and brings all cooking supplies, ingredients, and class materials to the site. Coordinators also recruit and train volunteer instructors for each course. Volunteer instructors share their education and experience in the culinary and nutrition fields, teaching course participants skills ranging from knife techniques to choosing healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Engaging volunteers keeps program administration costs down and builds community wealth by providing an opportunity for volunteers to take action against hunger.
By initiating discussions and introducing activities that build upon participants’ own experiences, instructors create effective learning opportunities. Course participants build confidence in their new skills through active class participation, enabling positive behavior changes in daily life. Classmates also help one another by sharing feedback on each other’s progress. Participants receive ingredients weekly to practice making the class recipes at home. By using what they learn in class at home, Cooking Matters MA course graduates maximize their food resources, make healthier choices for their families, and prepare balanced, delicious meals. Because proper nutrition is critical for children’s health, development, and ability to learn, acquiring these skills can return important long-term benefits for a family’s physical and economic well-being.