Ladies get be­hind Coun­try Kitchens

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - News - — Coul­ton’s Coun­try

TWELVE months ago the Queens­land Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cially launched Coun­try Kitchens, a pro­gram de­signed to get peo­ple back to ba­sics in the kitchen so they could live a health­ier, hap­pier life.

Since then, pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor Fiona McKen­zie and her team of nu­tri­tion­ists have de­liv­ered 21 work­shops, vis­ited 15 com­mu­ni­ties, and have met nearly 3000 peo­ple across Queens­land.

Mrs McKen­zie said the pro­gram was funded by the Queens­land Govern­ment, and de­liv­ered five key mes­sages.

“Coun­try Kitchens is about get­ting more fruit and veg­eta­bles in your diet, check­ing your por­tion sizes, sit­ting less and mov­ing more, cut­ting back on sug­ary drinks and cook­ing at home,” Ms McKen­zie said.

“Our aim is to ed­u­cate peo­ple on nu­tri­tion, teach them how to cor­rectly read food la­bels, ex­plain serv­ing sizes, and build on cur­rent skills and con­fi­dence in the kitchen.

“We want to help peo­ple make healthy recipe mod­i­fi­ca­tions and adap­ta­tions.

“We want to teach peo­ple how to make veg­eta­bles taste bet­ter with sim­ple cook­ing tech­niques and if nec­es­sary, adding that ex­tra veg­etable with­out the picky eaters de­tect­ing it.”

The pro­gram has been a suc­cess so far, and Mrs McKen­zie said it has been re­ward­ing to see QCWA mem­bers get on board.

“The QCWA ladies now un­der­stand the role they can play, which is fan­tas­tic be­cause QCWA has such a great rep­u­ta­tion for help­ing peo­ple,” Mrs McKen­zie said.

“We’ve trained nearly 100 QCWA ladies from branches lo­cated all across Queens­land. These ladies are will­ingly em­brac­ing recipe mod­i­fi­ca­tions, and they want to share their cook­ing skills with other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“They’re work­ing with schools, chil­dren and busy work­ing moth­ers, and are com­ing up with their own ideas for lo­cal health pro­mo­tion.

“The strength of the pro­gram is im­part­ing those im­por­tant health mes­sages to the com­mu­nity.”

An­other ad­van­tage of the Coun­try Kitchens pro­gram is at­tract­ing a younger gen­er­a­tion to be in­volved with the QCWA.

“The Coun­try Kitchens work­shops are avail­able to ev­ery­one. We’ve been teach­ing an age group that av­er­ages about 40, while the av­er­age age of QCWA mem­bers is around 60, so we are at­tract­ing a younger gen­er­a­tion,” Mrs McKen­zie said.

“We’re also get­ting a few men to our work­shops, which is great. A few branches have been work­ing closely with the Men’s Shed groups – that com­mu­nity ac­tiv­ity is so im­por­tant.

“Seven out of 10 peo­ple are fac­ing a health is­sue of some kind, whether it is heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, or car­ry­ing ex­tra weight. We need to get those fig­ures down, and that’s the aim of Coun­try Kitchens.

“This pro­gram is def­i­nitely the first of its kind in Queens­land and Aus­tralia, and pos­si­bly the world.”

PHOTO: SARAH COUL­TON

GREAT FOOD: Nutri­tion­ist Re­naye Gadsby from Bris­bane en­tices JuneHartwig from the Eidsvold Branch and Valerie Van Rijn from the Sun­ny­bank Coop­ers Plains Branch with some healthy op­tions.

Show­cas­ing some of the QCWA di­vi­sions with the state ex­ec­u­tives prior to the state con­fer­ence be­gin­ning.

PHO­TOS: SARAH COUL­TON

The QCWA choir opens the 94th state con­fer­ence with some beau­ti­ful singing.

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