Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Teen Cuisine Cooking Program Mixes Cooking Lessons and Life Skills

Introduce a few teenagers to some healthy ingredients, show them how to safely prepare a tasty new recipe, sprinkle in some nutrition facts, throw in a dash of fun, and voila! — those teens are on their way to making better food choices.

The Teen Cuisine cooking program is one of the many ways that Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program and Virginia 4-H are helping low-income families make informed and healthy food choices on limited budgets. The curriculum focuses on food preparation and cooking, including the safe use of knives and the importance of hand-washing.

The 4-H’ers are involved from start to finish, from the initial recipe selection to food prep, cooking, and cleanup. “The kids learn how to prepare food on their own that they would not normally cook,” said LaSonya White, a former middle school family and consumer sciences teacher who regularly used the curriculum with her students in Newport News. “We’d make colorful coleslaw to introduce the kids to a variety of vegetables. They would scrunch up their faces, but after they tried what they had made, they absolutely loved it.”

Teen Cuisine reached more than 12,000 students in 2015 and made a major impact. Nearly three-quarters of participants indicated that they are making healthier food choices as a result of Teen Cuisine. Of that group, 78 percent reported eating more fruits and vegetables, 67 percent said they drink fewer soft drinks, and 61 percent reported eating less junk food.

This program received assistance from a Walmart Youth Voice – Youth Choice grant in support of 4-H Healthy Living programs.

“From introducing these 4-H members to new foods to educating them on healthy, inexpensive food preparation techniques they can use at home, the Teen Cuisine program is making a positive impact on the healthy behaviors of these youth that will hopefully last a lifetime,” said Tonya Price, 4-H Extension specialist.

Teen Cuisine

High school teacher Katherine Morris supervises Doug Gibson, a ninth-grader at LIFES Academy, as he cuts broccoli for a chicken and vegetable stir-fry.


CommonHealth-Five Diet Resolutions for 2014

Are you making bold resolutions in the New Year to “eat right” – whatever
that means? Stop trying to overhaul your entire diet in a day! Resolve to
think small and you can reach any diet goal – one focused step at a time.
Why not start with these simple tips?

Resolution No. 1: Go Slow
Resolving to get more fiber in your diet this year? Maybe
more fish or fresh fruit? Any diet change is easier if you take
slow, small steps.

Resolution No 2: Water, Water, Everywhere
Water: It’s cheap, fat-free, and gives your body a quenching boost.

Resolution No. 3: Go for the Gold… and Red… and Purple
Colorful produce is packed with disease-fighting plant
compounds, so when you shop, reach for a rainbow.

Resolution No 4: Tackle Mindless Munching
You’re chatting with friends around the dinner table or
watching a DVD – and you just keep nibbling. Try these tips
to reign in the munchies:
ƒ*Pop a stick of gum or a sugar-free mint in your mouth.
*ƒBrush or floss your teeth.

Resolution No 5: Stack the Odds in Your Favor 
Don’t forget to help yourself succeed, and to reach out for
help when you need it.
Buddy up with a friend or family member with diet and
weight loss resolutions. Then share your ideas, plans,
and successes regularly.

Take enough steps and you’ll reach any goal. Resolve to
make a few small diet resolutions this year and then just
watch how far you’ll go!

For more in-depth information on how to make these resolutions work and other great tips check out the CommonHealth Compass