“It gave me clarity on nutrition facts, how to shop and keep from running out of food before the next shopping date.”
—Cooking Matters for Adults graduate, Little Rock, AR
View Cooking Matters video here.
Arkansas Flavor, a special publication of Arkansas Times, features recipes from the Cooking Matters curriculum.
Skills Families Need to Eat Better for Less
Cooking Matters, an innovative nutrition education program offering 6-week Signature Courses, teaches individuals and families the skills they need to cook healthy meals and get the most from their food budgets. The Cooking Matters classes are hands-on, full participation classes taught by volunteer chefs and nutrition experts from communities large and small. Participants learn how to select nutritious, low-cost ingredients and how to turn those ingredients into delicious meals for their families. Graduates of Cooking Matters Signature Courses don’t just leave with cooking skills; they leave with the confidence and pride in knowing they can make a difference in the health and happiness of their families.Cooking Matters Signature Courses are designed as six weekly, two-hour lessons and can be taught in any facility that has a kitchen or an area that can be outfitted with hot plates. Many Cooking Matters courses are taught in church kitchens, community centers, food banks, food pantries, restaurants and schools.
Different Curriculums for Different Needs
There are different versions of Cooking Matters to meet the needs of different groups and many are available in Spanish* as well as English:
- Cooking Matters for Adults* teaches adults with low-incomes about healthy meal preparation and sensible shopping on a limited budget. Ninety percent of Cooking Matters for Adults graduates said they ate more fruits, vegetables or whole grains after the course than they did before. This program also has extra components to help participants who have children ages five and under, who are at risk for or have diabetes, as well as those who are dealing with HIV/AIDS.
- Cooking Matters for Kids teaches children in 3rd through 5th grades how to prepare healthy meals and snacks and to make smart choices whether they are at school or at home, at the store or out to eat. Forty percent improved their confidence in making something to eat with fruits and vegetables all by themselves.
- Cooking Matters for Families* brings school-aged children and their families together to learn about healthy eating, planning meals as a family and working together in the kitchen. Eighty-nine percent of families reported cooking together at home when they finished their classes.
- Cooking Matters for Teens teaches kids in the 6th grade and up how to make healthy food choices and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Eighty-one percent of graduates reported an improvement in the cooking skills.
- Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals teaches those who care for children about healthy meal preparation and creating a healthy, safe food environment for the kids in their care. Of the providers who completed the first round of pilot trainings, 92 percent reported improved cooking skills and 72 percent felt more confident about having kids help prepare meals.
Find a Cooking Matters Program in Your Area:
Be A Cooking Matters Partner
We ask that partners have at least 2 dedicated volunteers to oversee a Cooking Matters program and participate in a training that lasts about an hour and a half. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance provides this training at no cost to you. We do anticipate at least one series of the 6 session Cooking Matters class to be conducted after training.
We are happy to work on any logistics needed to make this a successful program for you. Partners are responsible for purchasing of food and cooking equipment for the classes. Partners also are responsible for recruiting participants and volunteer teachers.
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’s Cooking Matters program will provide all curriculum costs for your class! Yea! We will provide you with enough material to send each participant home with a copy of the Cooking Matters curriculum, graduation certificate and reusable grocery bag. As well as provide the instructors with books specifically designed to help teach the course. We provide surveys and we are able to provide you with the impact of your classes about 6 weeks after completion.
Cooking Matters Coordinator Training:
We have scheduled trainings in the new year for volunteers who would like to work with Cooking Matters. After the training you will be able to coordinate, teach, and host a 6-week nutrition and culinary education class. Some of you have volunteered with us in the past and wanted to connect more deeply with the program. Some are just learning what Cooking Matters is about.
If you would like to attend a training, please RSVP by selecting the link next to the location you plan to attend.
Conway: RSVP Conway Training
- January 9th at 10:00 am until noon
- Location To Be Announced
Bentonville Training: RSVP Northwest Arkansas Training
- January 10th, 10:30 am, The Jones Center, Room 155, 922 E Emma Ave, Springdale, AR 72764
- We have a great organization that is looking for volunteers to continue providing Cooking Matters classes. The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter is seeking a lead volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering, we would love to tell you more about this opportunity. To enquire please send me an email or RSVP and join us!
Salem Training: RSVP Salem Training
- January 14 at 10, location Salem United Methodist Church, 208 W Church St, Salem, AR 72576
Little Rock Training: RSVP Little Rock Training
- January 18th, 10:30-noon, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, 1400 West Markham Suite 304, Little Rock, AR 72201
Mountain Home Training: Mountain Home Training
- February 1, 11-2, Training at: Health Resources of Arkansas, 8 Medical Plaza, Mountain Home, AR 72654
El Dorado Training: RSVP El Dorado Training
- February 7th, 10:30-noon, location to be determined
If you have questions or would like to discuss involvement with Cooking Matters, please contact Rachel Townsend, Cooking Matters director at email@example.com