Thanks to a partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey and Share Our Strength, the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Education team is now offering a six-week class series called Cooking Matters for Teens.
The classes are designed to empower teenagers to make healthy meals and snacks at home and smart food choices on the go. To date, classes have been held at McKean High School and Family Foundations Academy.
Lessons cover meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. Practical skill building includes grocery price comparison using the unit price, proper knife techniques and more!
The class series culminates with the “Extreme Food Makeover” activity. Students use all of the knowledge gained during class to turn a not-so-healthy meal into a healthy one.
Students at McKean High School tested their extreme food makeover skills with a healthy vegetable lo-mein. Before getting started on meal preparation, the group tested their unit-pricing knowledge with Leah, our Community Nutritionist. Print outs of cost labels and nutrition facts of common household food products were set up to help students make smart choices in the grocery store aisles.
Some things the students had to consider before using unit pricing to buy in bulk:
- The number of people in their family
- Whether there is enough space to store the fod
- Whether the bulk size costs less per unit than smaller sizes
Perusing the makeshift grocery store, the students also focused on the cost of one pound of fresh fruits or vegetables versus the cost of a one-pound can or frozen bag of the same fruit of vegetable, cost difference between using in-season or on-sale fruits and vegetables and the cost of making homemade “fast food” versus prepackaged food.
After the shopping exercise, the students were ready to begin making their recipe from scratch. They gathered all of the ingredients, chopped the vegetables and cooked the lo-mein recipe using skillets.
Students were pleased with their extreme food makeover dish and said they’d prepare it at home! At the conclusion of class, they left with full stomachs and a recipe book and a small collection of their own kitchen utensils!
Check out some pictures from Cooking Matters for Teens at McKean High School!