Saturday, October 1, 2022

SFA’s Cooking Matters program brings nutrition education to people under poverty line


NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) – Soaring food prices are hard for most families, and they can hit lower income levels and families already stretched thin the hardest.

SFA has program meant to help called Cooking Matters. It focuses on underserved parts of Nacogdoches. Cooking Matters is a national program that SFA adopted seven years ago. The six-week program teaches people under the poverty line about healthy eating habits and budgeting.

Justin Pelham, a clinical instructor at SFA says his nutrition students are able to gain real-world experience by teaching these classes themselves, but also benefiting the community.

“Students get hands-on application with everything they do in class, so instead of making a theory, it’s actually doing the nutrition education and the cooking component. And so they go out to one of our pantries in town, Hope Pantry, and it’s really helping our underserved community in Nacogdoches,” Pelham said.

Pelham says one in three people in the city of Nacogdoches live under the poverty line. He says this free class teaches basic nutrition education.

“That includes things like my plate, nutrition labels, looking at different food groups,” Pelham said.

Participants have to attend four out of the six classes in order to graduate from the program. After the first component is over, those who graduate move to the basic cooking skills class. During each class they are taught how to make a nutritious meal and given a bag with all those ingredients to take back home.

Pelham says in looking for nutritious food, always look at labels.

“A lot of people don’t realize that as far as the ingredients list, the longer it is, we have to be mindful that it could have a lot of processed foods. We don’t need additional sugars, salts and things like that. So the longer the list, it might have those components where as the shorter it is, it might be a better choice,” Pelham said.

The class has already started, but it’s not too late to register. Visit Hope Pantry to register.

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