Learn­ing to cook healthy and nu­tri­tious meals

RSWLiving - - Department­s - Klau­dia Balogh is a health and fit­ness writer for TOTI Me­dia.

The School District of Lee County of­fers nu­tri­tion-ori­ented cook­ing and ed­u­ca­tional classes for district em­ploy­ees to help them im­prove their di­ets. What’s at the end of your fork con­trib­utes to many as­pects of your life, from men­tal and phys­i­cal well-be­ing to preven­tion and even re­cov­ery. These days, how­ever, mak­ing the right food choices, not to men­tion pre­par­ing nu­tri­tious meals, has be­come more con­fus­ing than ever.

The school district’s em­ployee well­ness co­or­di­na­tor, Heather Parker, re­cently told TOTI Me­dia that the goal of the district’s Food for Life pro­gram is to ed­u­cate peo­ple on nu­tri­tion and how to ap­ply plant-based cook­ing to their lives.

“If you like meat, you don’t have to give it up but have it rather as a condi­ment as op­posed to a main on your plate,” she says. “The fo­cus is to eat and en­joy more fruits, veg­eta­bles, beans and whole grains with­out load­ing them with but­ter and cheese.”

And why? A diet rich in whole foods and plants puts the body in an al­ka­line state, help­ing the body re­cover and re­gen­er­ate on a cel­lu­lar level. This has a range of great ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing low­er­ing risk of all can­cers, es­pe­cially colon can­cer; im­prov­ing sleep qual­ity; low­er­ing blood pres­sure and choles­terol; and help­ing with weight loss.

The pro­gram of­fers a va­ri­ety of cur­ric­ula to meet par­tic­i­pants’ goals, whether it is to re­cover from or re­duce the risk of can­cer, pre­vent or re­verse di­a­betes, aid in weight loss or en­cour­age their kids to eat health­ier.

The pro­gram, which is free to all district em­ploy­ees, of­fers 10 to 14 cour­ses a year, each run­ning for six weeks. Dur­ing ev­ery class a Food for Life in­struc­tor demos a full meal, which attendees can try. They then leave with a packet of recipes to re­peat at home.

A dairy-free and meat-free diet might seem chal­leng­ing at first, but these classes aim to teach prac­ti­cal meth­ods to ap­ply plant-based meals to par­tic­i­pants’ lives.

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