Over the past 30 years childhood obesity has more than tripled, placing children at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. In order to fight the onset of obesity among children, the American Heart Association developed the Kids Cook With Heart program. Studies show that youth who are involved in preparing their own meals are more likely to eat nutrient rich foods and more fruits and vegetables.
While participating in the program, students learn the basic skills required to prepare their own meals at home, as well as the information they need to make healthier choices. The classes, taught by AHA volunteers with backgrounds in cooking and nutrition, are fun and educational. This is the first year of the program in Hawaii and we think it was a great success!
The program was offered at Lahaina area elementary, middle and high schools thanks to a grant to the AHA from the Saunder’s Family.
Recently students at Lahainaluna High School completed an eight week “Teen’s Cook With Heart” program that included an “Iron Chef” style healthful cooking competition. During the competition students were presented with a mystery bag of ingredients, and with what they had learned through participation in the program and the help of their chef mentors they prepared a healthful salad, dressing and entrée for a panel of judges. The winning team members won gift cards to a local grocery store.
At the end of the program all of the students received aprons and a cook book with healthy recipes.
We hope to continue this program in other local schools. If you have questions or would like to find out how your school can participate contact Lesli Yano at 808-377-6641.