FOOD FOR LIFE
Learning to cook healthy and nutritious meals
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.