Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices, and eating together with your family has been proven to have many benefits beyond a better diet. You don’t need to be a chef to create nutritious, heart-healthy meals your family will love. Throughout May and June, Chef Jason Muckle with CHEW (Cooking for Health Education and Wellness) converted the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart classes to a virtual platform, to continue providing families with heart-healthy recipes and cooking instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chef Jason partnered with Peter Paul, a community organization located in the East End of Richmond, to conduct four virtual cooking classes during their virtual parent hangout meetings. After COVID-19 hit the community, he continued the AHA initiative to raise awareness of the health and economic benefits of preparing meals at home by using “hands on” cooking classes and demonstrations to teach basic cooking skills, healthy diet and nutrition, increase class participants’ cooking confidence, and increase the number of meals prepared and consumed in the home.
Chef Jason says, “CHEW’s mission is to empower people through food. Given the recent circumstances people have seen the systems where they had typically received food change or disappear. That’s what makes what CHEW does so important. We promote self-sufficiency by teaching children how they can provide for themselves and the people in their families. Our goal is to create generational change to promote health in our community.”
All the materials for the meal kits were prepped and portioned in a sanitized, controlled cooking environment, then packaged and delivered to designated locations for social distancing purposes. They then conducted each Zoom event allowing participants to discuss and ask questions so they could have much needed social interaction while learning the recipe. In order to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn to cook, CHEW is exploring the idea of rental equipment, so that families would have free access to any tools needed to complete recipes. The American Heart Association thanks Chef Jason and CHEW for providing a much needed service during these uncertain times, and furthering our mission to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives.