Let's cook! Hands-on nutrition education gets results
When individuals learn to make healthy choices, we all benefit.
Every $1 spent on nutrition education saves up to $10 in health care costs.
"You're the fourth person to come through my line with the same groceries," a store clerk in Walker, Minnesota, commented about her customer's basketful of colorful vegetables.
A mysterious coincidence? No.
The customer was shopping for a meal she learned to make at a Simply Good Cooking class, part of Extension's Simply Good Eating nutrition program for low-income families. The customers preceding her were classmates making the same leap from learning about nutrition to buying ingredients and preparing a healthy meal at home.
Recent Extension research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that when classes offer a full sensory experience of preparing and tasting the food, participants:
- Cook more meals at home
- Eat more fruit and vegetables, and healthier snacks
- Practice better food safety
- Eat lower-fat dairy foods and more whole grains
Better choices like these reduce obesity and related diseases, improving overall health.
Each year, Extension's community nutrition educators teach 70,000 low income people throughout Minnesota by working with more than 1,200 groups, schools and agencies.
Extension also delivers Cooking Matters®, a national program that brings in volunteer chefs to teach healthy cooking skills at local classes.
Extension is among the state's top three leaders in building access to healthy foods, according to newly released rankings by Philanthropedia.