Healthy Heart Cooking Classes


Sep 17


Throughout August and early September, CommunityHealth ran a series of Healthy Heart Nutrition Cooking Classes. The classes were sponsored by the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. The classes allowed CommunityHealth patients, along with friends and family, to learn about nutrition, both practically and theoretically.

The class started by preparing some vegetables 

The class learned the curriculum behind the cooking










In addition to the science of nutrition, the recipes used within the classes were also designed with several other factors in mind: feeding a family on a budget,  consuming the freshest produce by shopping seasonally, introducing less commonly consumed foods, and, dispelling popular food myths (E.g. canned vegetables lose their nutritional value). Conducting the classes with all these factors in mind allows for a holistic approach to be taken towards health and food. Genesis Rios, Health Education and Outreach Coordinator, certainly sees the correlation between a wide ranging cooking class, and wide ranging benefits for our patients’ health: “The cooking class is a great way to try new foods that patients might not normally try, and to learn how to cook foods in a healthier way. This is great because it helps people who have conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, learn how to eat in ways that help manage those conditions.”

Adelle White, Health Education Manager, believes the classes are a great tool to remove the accessibility boundaries to healthy cooking: “Many of us simply don’t know which foods are considered healthy and which are not, and others may know which foods are healthy but may be at a loss as to how to prepare those foods. There are so many myths and misguided notions about food and healthy eating, and that’s why nutrition education is so important. Many people assume healthy eating is really expensive, and the classes are great for showing that isn’t the case. By not only teaching about nutrition, but also actively cooking together, we make healthy cooking more approachable and less of a hurdle than if someone had to try it on their own. After 6 weeks of healthy cooking, participants leave with confidence and a large book full of recipes to make healthy meals at home. This class is really meant to encourage and empower people to change their habits, and I think it really does.”

Two of the recipes prepared and eaten in class










Not only do the classes provide long lasting health benefits to our patients, they’re also a great illustration of the community here at the health center: the classes involve our great volunteers , our engaged patients who are eager to learn, and the dedicated work of staff such as Adelle and Genesis.  Undoubtedly, the best thing about the classes is knowing that at the end of them, a real impact has been made upon the participants health. We asked a few of the participants’ what they’re taking away from the class, and many were happy to share:

“I took the class because I really didn’t know how to cook healthily, and now I do!”- Carmen

“I hardly drink any soda now, or eat as much red meat. Overall I eat much healthier.”- Hugo

“I can now better understand how to read nutrition labels.”- Guadalupe

“I’ve now replaced salt with seasonings and spices.”- Yolanda


To keep track of all the health and wellness classes going on at CommunityHealth, click here, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we regularly post updates!