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Happy Healthy Cooks

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Good nutrition is vital to physical and mental health.

According to Carilion's latest Community Heatlh Needs Assesment, the number one health need in Roanoke City is a lack of nutritent dense foods in the diet.  Type II diabetes is on the rise, even in children - and it is COMPLETELY preventable through diet. More than 90% of children and 86% of adults do not consume enough fruits and vegetables to protect their health, leading to chronic illness as we age. Not only that, poor nutrition can make learning difficult and can contribute to mental and behavioral health issues.

Happy Healthy Cooks turn kids and their families on to eating and enjoying the foods that their bodies need to be healthy and strong and to avoid disability from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Children in poverty are at the greatest risk for the outcomes of poor nutrition.

Our staff leads more than 60 trained dedicated community volunteers each week for 20 weeks to deliver our proven curriculum to 600 Roanoke City Schools 2nd graders in 7 elementary schools and 120 children in 6 TAP Head Start Centers.  Kids learn about nutrition, how to tell what foods are good for their bodies, and prepare and eat a wide variety of nutritious fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains in their classroom during the school day.  They also learn the science and techniques of practicing mindfulness to help them manage stress, difficult feelings, and self-control.

KIDS WILL EAT HEALTHY FOOD!  Even kids who start out being super-picky eaters end up tasting and liking a much wider variety of the foods that will keep them healthy, help their brains work better, and help them avoid chronic illness as they age.

Brazilian Black Beans over brown rice with a side of sauteed kale 

'The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine

or the slowest form of poison.'   ​-Dr. Ann Wigmore

We erase the top 3 barriers to eating healthfully: the idea that nutritious food doesn’t taste good, that nutritious food is complicated to prepare, and the belief  that it costs too much to eat nutritious food. Our second graders have been preparing and cooking and tasting delicious nutritious foods from different parts of the world, expanding their taste buds and loving the food that is good for their bodies. They cook our simple, delicious, nutritious affordable recipes in the classroom using a hot plate and a pot!   All the recipes can feed a family of 4 a complete nutritious meal for around $6.

Our greatest hope is to help influence the choices they make – and we want to influence the choices offered to them in school and at home.  Once people realize kids will eat the foods that are good for them, they can offer it up with the confidence that  they'll eat it . 

We encourage all of the parents to try cooking  the recipes their kids made in class—and remind them to be sure to have them help in the kitchen (that’s where the magic happens!)

​Learn more at:

                       ​                 Cheers!  Talique and Travonte are enjoying their Green Monster Smoothies

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