Local Childcare Professionals Learn ‘Cooking Matters’

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Have you wondered what you would get if you put a professional pastry chef, a nutritionist from Arkansas and twenty-five daycare providers in the same room? Well, the food bank recently found out the answer: a ton of laughs, a lot of dishes, and some really good food.

This past weekend, over two dozen D.C. area childcare providers joined volunteers and staff from the Capital Area Food Bank for a full day of training on all things healthy food. Using the facilities of CentroNia, a Columbia Heights based organization, participants strengthened their cooking skills by preparing everything from veggie frittatas to turkey tacos. The course was instructed by Robin Brannon, Clinical Nutrition Manager at the George Washington University Hospital, and Babette Couser, also known as “Chef Indigo,” a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine who works for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.

The training was part of a three-part series, funded by the D.C .Office of the State Superintendent of Education. The trainings follow the Cooking Matters curriculum provided by Share Our Strength, a national organization whose mission is to end childhood hunger by 2015.

Normally a five-week series, the food bank consolidated the lessons into a one-day, crash course on nutrition and cooking for kids. The classroom material spanned everything from label reading and seasonal eating to changing mealtime attitudes, involving kids in the kitchen, and meal planning on a budget. The childcare providers even picked up a few new ideas for how to encourage (perhaps sometimes trick) their kids to eat those pesky vegetables.

After the course, the participants reported they intend to put into practice what they learned in training. One childcare provider commented, “I plan on using the recipes from today both in my house and at the center.” Many of the participants commented that the training proved valuable not only for their work with children, but also for their own health and wellness. One woman commented, “It has affected my personal life because even though I eat mostly on the run, I recognize I can still eat simply and healthy without a lot of fuss.” It was certainly an enjoyable and educational day for everyone involved!

Interested in becoming a Cooking Matters volunteer? Click here to learn more.