Students learn hands-on cooking skills

A hands-on food literacy cooking program with a focus on vegetables and fruits is earning rave reviews from York Region District School Board students and teachers.

“You get to cook your own meals which will serve as a base and a foundation for your future years, and it’s really cool because you get to also try your meals,” says Edor, a Grade 8 student at Doncrest P.S.

As part of the You’re the Chef program, students in Grades 5 to 8 learn basic cooking and safe food handling skills and how cooking at home can help them save money when compared to processed food and eating out. They also learn meal planning and time management skills as they build their confidence preparing healthy meals.

“The objective of the program is to promote food literacy with an emphasis on cooking skills and also to promote connectedness and social interaction between students, which is an important aspect of promoting a positive mental health,” says Nancy Bevilacqua, a public health nutritionist and registered dietitian with York Region Public Health.

“One of the other objectives of the program is to promote vegetables and fruit because we know that children and youth are not consuming enough vegetables and fruit,” she says. York Region Public Health provides training for educators or school community members interested in running the program at their school.

Kalpana Chaudry, a Grade 8 Teacher at Doncrest P.S, took part in the program. “If we bring this initiative of You are the Chef into our classrooms, I believe there is a real opportunity to educate students with all these essential skills so they can cook at home and attain a healthy lifestyle,” she says. “This program actually seamlessly integrates with our curriculum as well, so it was very easy to incorporate.”

Learn more about You’re the Chef from York Region Public Health and the staff and students at Doncrest P.S. who participated in the program.

Photo: A screenshot from a video about the program. 

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