Cooking classes for kids focus on organic foods

By 
Jeanette Origel, Special to the Reporter
Aug. 14, 2014

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and ChopChop Magazine have teamed up to offer free cooking classes to Dorchester kids. This week, a group of eight kids ages 8-12 from the Blue Hills Boys and Girls Club have been learning to make their own healthy home-cooked meals with fresh organic produce.

The Blue Hill Boys and Girls Club is one of eight clubs to hold cooking classes for children. The first session last week took place in Worcester.

The eight week-long classes were developed by ChopChop Kids, which publishes a cooking magazine for kids. It is funded through a $100,000 grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. This week the children have been learning to make yogurt parfait, smoothies, eggs cooked in different ways, gazpacho, quesadillas, guacamole, hummus, bean burgers and panzanella.

“Creating healthy environments for kids and their families that provide access to fresh foods is a critical step in helping to prevent obesity and promote life-long healthy habits,” said Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, which funds programs that prevent and combat childhood obesity. “Here is an opportunity to see if skilled professionals, specializing in providing healthy cooking lessons to kids, can have an impact and bring back the lost art of cooking.”

The series is part of a pilot program that aims to reduce obesity by teaching children the skills and providing tools they need to eat more healthfully. At the end of each class, the students will share what they made in class with their family and encourage them to recreate the recipes at home.

Boston Organics, a locally owned grocery delivery company, has partnered with ChopChop in past community projects and has even provided produce for the magazine’s photo shoots. They will also be providing most of the fresh ingredients that the Dorchester students will be using throughout their week-long classes.

To learn more about ChopChop’s mission visit chopchopmag.org.