Healthy Cooking and Meals 101 – Oregon State University

Healthy Cooking and Meals 101 – Oregon State University


These cooking classes were started originally
because we’ve had a lot of students express interest in learning how to cook. Students that would be, that are not necessarily
within our department or college and they don’t have a lot of experience with cooking,
they’re coming from families who may not have had a lot of home cooking and so students
want to eat healthier and they perceive that if they had the opportunity to cook they could
use a greater diversity of foods and be able to actually consume healthier diets. The Nutrition and Dietetics Club wrote a grant
through the Women’s Giving Circle last spring. We received the grant and we went out with
our plan to do the cooking classes and then Dr. Ho through the Moore Family Center said
that she also wanted to help us out with the classes. So the classes are ran by nutrition and dietetics
students but we have the backing from the Moore Family Center as well who are also sponsoring
it, so we kind of have dual sponsorship in that way. This is a pilot project, we have not done
these before. Students were recruited at orientation, so
we were sort of seeking out students who might be freshman or just coming to OSU for the
first time. So we have volunteers who have either signed
up for credit or they’re just volunteering their time and they have done a dry run, the
week before the cooking class they do a dry run and they become experts on their recipes. So they do the recipes, they read them, they
know them front to back, they know what all of the techniques are and that way when we
get to the class, if the students know what is zesting, how do I juice a lemon, how do
I even cook pasta? The volunteers know exactly what to tell them
how to do it and so it benefits the students who are coming to the class and then it also
benefits the volunteers because they’re gaining new knowledge and they’re also gaining teaching
skills as well. Over the summer I helped develop the curriculum
with one of the grad students. We did all of the prep documents, all of the
recipes, we put together order of operations sheets and just different, the packets for
the students with the tip sheets and things like that. And then my role during the cooking classes
is to just kind of walk around, help people. I do a demo at the beginning with Sara, she’s
a food systems management student. The reason we do the demo is because the students
are from everywhere on campus, so they might not be a nutrition major, they might not be
anywhere even in this department so they may have absolutely no food experience or nutrition
experience at all so for today we did proteins. So we went over different protein forms, what
kind of vitamins and minerals, and why proteins are good for you, how much protein you need. Sara did a demo where she showed how to dice
different things, put things together. And then we did a cheese tasting so students
could taste maybe a cheese that they’ve never had before. So that’s kind of the general purpose of
them. Coming in, not knowing many diverse techniques
at all, this is really helpful. My roommate, same thing, she cooks, but she
cooks her own style of things so this is broadening our horizons. I think if I came in not knowing anything
I could still be really successful in this class. Our awesome volunteers and assistants come
in ahead of time before the class and they prep out the trays of food, so they’ll have
diced celery or pre-diced items for the students all laid out for them and the recipe packets
there. So all the students have to do is prep some
of the ingredients that are left and put the recipes together so it just makes it a littler
bit easier and more attainable. I think it’s great that I’m not just watching
them do it the whole time and sitting there because it’s easier to get bored and look
away and things like that. Seeing the things that you’re working on
right in front of you, you’re the one cooking it. I do like that they have the little instruction
ahead of time so you know why you’re learning about proteins or whole grains. We broke the classes up into grains, vegetables
and proteins, but every class kind of had a component of all three of those items. So for example during our grains class we
did a black bean quinoa salad, we did a bulgur salad. Today with the proteins class we’re doing
a lemon pork stir fry, during the fruits and veggies class we did smoothies, we did different
stir fried vegetables, we did kale chips which the students really loved, it was kind of
a new thing that they hadn’t tried before, so a really wide variety. We try to do both vegetarian and meat recipes
so students can have different things like that. We also give them the cost of the recipes
so with those recipes they can see ok well this recipe is going to be maybe a more low-cost
recipe that I can do tonight. We cook all of the recipes and then at the
very end of the class we put them out on a big long table and then the students get to
come and pile their plates full of all of the food, taste everything that they made. I like eating all of the stuff at the end
and realizing that the healthy food that everyone would turn their nose up to because it’s
health food is actually really delicious. The Nutrition and Dietetics Club gets experience
as students for our major teaching healthy cooking classes, which is something, kind
of a component of being a dietician as a teaching component. So it gives students that experience of what
it’s going to be like in their careers when they’re maybe working with somebody at the
hospital and needing to teach them about cooking a new diet or just simply how to cook at home. It benefits the OSU students from the community
who are coming to this class because they’re gaining valuable cooking skills, they’re
learning how to dice, they’re learning how to cook something they maybe hadn’t cooked
before or getting exposed to an ingredient that they maybe would have never been exposed
to before had this class not happened. The classes have been going very well, the
students have given us really positive feedback in evaluations. We’re trying to look ahead and see what
else they might want to learn. I think they leave here learning a lot, perhaps
more than they had expected. Our hope and want for everybody to get out
of these classes is just a general love of cooking, knowing that cooking is not scary,
that they can cook an easy, nutritious, healthy meal pretty easily, that not everything is
expensive and that it’s just really easy and attainable and not a scary thing.

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