Begin Cooking for a Healthier You!

We all want to eat healthier, or at least know that we should eat healthier. Whether it is nagging parents, spouse, doctor, or your favorite dietitian (blink – blink), we get the point. The benefits of eating healthy are numerous: prevent chronic disease, have more energy, or to turn heads with that new outfit you just bought. But what does it take to eat healthy? Increase fruits and vegetables, while decreasing added fats, sugars, and sodium? Unfortunately, most of us have so much going on that the thought adding one more thing to our plate is ovewhelming.1 There are many barriers in life to eating healthful for everyone including lack of time, lack of understanding what to eat, lack of family support, limited budget, food preferences, and the focus of this post: cooking habits.2.

Why we don’t cook anymore

  • Learning to cook has the stigma of being ‘old-fashioned’
  • We are rushed for time
  • There are more home-delivery meals, meal services, take-out options, and frozen meals than there ever before
  • Many young people do not know how to cook basic foods – and ordering online is a simpler task that appears more appealing

The downside to ‘ordering in’

  • Take-out and delivery foods are higher in fat, sugars, and sodium
  • Take-out and delivery foods are in larger portions than the body needs
  • There may be mystery ingredients in the foods (those with allergies/intolerances may have some upsetting post-meal feels)
  • Microwaveable meals are generally very high in sodium

How cooking classes make a healthier you

  • Proven to help people decrease their calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrate intake2
  • Proven to help increase fruit and vegetable intake.3
  • Shown to increase self-esteem2
  • Improves skills to avoid foodborne illness1
  • Teaches how to incorporate and retain vital nutrients in meals

Ok, you’ve convinced me, let’s cook!

Whether you are unsure about your talents as an amateur chef, interested in new recipes, or would like to end the year with a healthy beginning, Kailo Nutrition’s chef-led culinary nutrition programs can help you prepare healthy meals that are practical and delicious.

 

Halloween Treats: JACK-O-LATERN ORANGE FRUIT CUPS

jack-o-latern-orange

 Ingredients
  • 8 small navel oranges
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • Whatever fruits you’d like
  • Slivered almonds and whole cloves

Directions

  • Choose which side of each orange will be the jack-o’-lantern’s face; cut a thin slice from the bottom of each so that it rests flat. Cut another small slice from the top. Spoon out pulp. Chop pulp and combine with apple and grapes or any other fruit; set aside.
  • Cut faces as desired; decorate with cloves and almonds. Spoon fruit mixture into jack-o’-lanterns. Yield: 8 servings.

Notes: Always wash your fruits before cutting or eating, even the orange!

 *Adapted from Taste of Home

 

NOTE: Blog post written by University of North Florida graduate student and dietetic intern, Karen Chaska. 


  1. Brown BJ, Hermann JR. Cooking classes increase fruit and vegetable intake and food safety behaviors in youth and adults. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2005; 37: 104-105.
  2. Archuleta M, VanLeeuwen D, Halderson, K, et al. Cooking schools improve nutrient intake patterns of people with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2012; 44(4): 319-325.
  3. Caraher M, Lang T. Can’t cook, won’t cook: a review of cooking skills and their relevance to health promotion. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education. 1999; 37(3): 89-100.
  4. Taste of Home: Jack-o-Latern Orange Fruit Cups