Building skills, confidence and knowledge through cooking and nutrition

The Michigan State University Extension Cooking Matters course meets a need in the community.

Alcona Health Center (AHC) and Michigan State University Extension have partnered to hold a six week Cooking Matters course at the clinic in Lincoln. Participants referred by nurses and physicians have a two-hour nutrition and cooking class and are then sent home with the ingredients to prepare the meal they practiced in class.

Tara Roberson, the class instructor, has gone the extra mile to connect the community to the classes, working with local grocers Family Fare Oscoda, Harrisville Harbor Grocery and Kris Mart to provide a store tour and partial funding of demonstration and participant groceries. Additional funding has come through a WalMart grant specific for Cooking Matters in the healthcare setting.

Alcona Health Center’s registered dietitian, Denise Thompson, sees great value in referring patients from the clinic, where they are educated on altering dietary habits to improve their health, and into a class that provides hands-on experience putting these concepts into practice in the kitchen. The opportunity for the clinic to refer patients aids in the quality of health care AHC is able to deliver and health center providers have taken notice. After each class hosted on-site, providers and staff enter the kitchen to hear what recipes were demonstrated and how their patients responded. This interest in Cooking Matters by AHC staff further motivates providers to continue to refer patients and keep classes full.

As a result of this class, one participant who had hardly any cooking experience gained the skills, confidence and knowledge to shop for and prepare a vegetable lasagna serving four for under $10.  

More results at a group level will be available for and shared with the Alcona Health Center including vegetable/fruit consumption and changes in physical activity level.

The class was so popular among health care providers and patients, a waiting list had to be generated and a second class is already full!  This is success in its truest form identifying a need in the community, rallying multiple stakeholders together and meeting the need.

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