Healthy Heart

“Cooking Matters” courses help those with dietary restrictions due to diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Having a healthy heart is a goal of GRACE for all its Community Clinic patients. So, St. Valentine’s Day is a perfect reason to share the love with the instructors of the Cooking Matters classes at GRACE who have that same goal in mind.

Recently, each Wednesday afternoon, volunteer instructors from the Tarrant Area Food Bank begin preparations for their 6 – 8 p.m. Cooking Matters class. The Community Room and Teaching Kitchen at GRACE Main Offices, turn into a chef’s delight sending fragrant aromas down the halls and into every office.

The GRACE Community Clinic refers most of the class members who are on restricted diets due to diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Each week of the course, Cooking Matters students receive take-home groceries, which they can use at home to practice a recipe they learned in class.

The course include:

  • Participatory food preparation that provides cooking and food safety instruction
  • Engaging nutritional activities and discussions
  • Promotion of healthier eating habits
  • Practice with food budgeting
  • Workbook and 65 healthy, delicious recipes
  • Tips on grocery store visits or other food shopping experiences
  • Communal eating of the food made in class
  • Celebratory final class and graduation ceremony for participants who completed at least four of the six classes

This past Wednesday was the fourth class in the 6-week course and cooking takes a competitive turn when graduation nears. This is the time in the course when students turn into Iron Chefs in a “Battle of Healthy and Delicious”.

Each team brings their newly-acquired skills, knowledge, teamwork, and confidence in meal preparation into the GRACE Teaching Kitchen—all gained through the Cooking Matters course.

Each of the Cooking Matters curricula use the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid as the foundation for basic nutrition guidelines, then builds upon these ideas, using interactive lessons to teach cooking, food safety, and food resource management.

The Cooking Matters classes are locally sponsored by the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Special workshops and courses are regularly scheduled throughout Tarrant County. Volunteering opportunities are also available. Click on TAFB for more information.

Contact Nurse Shirley Roberts at the GRACE Community Clinic for additional information.