Food program teaches healthy cooking, cost-effective habitsSep 20, 2015 By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer
Cent$ible Nutrition hosts free cooking classes from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the Central Wyoming College classroom kitchen at the Frank B. Wise Business Plaza in Fort Washakie.
Cent$ible Nutrition is a program designed to promote food security and teach healthy and cost-effective eating habits. Each class contains a hands-on cooking class as well as a money management component.
"We try to show people creative ways that they can make their food monies stretch so they're getting more for their money," Cent$ible Nutrition educator Rainy Stacey said.
One goal of the class is to introduce students to new recipes and show them how to use new ingredients.
"The series classes are really extra fun," Stacey said. "We give incentive prizes like cutting boards and cookbooks."
The current series of classes is scheduled through Nov. 4 but will continue as long as there is interest.
"It could go on through next spring," said Cent$ible Nutrition program coordinator Nan Craft.
Anyone is welcome to jump in at any time, Craft said. The class schedule is flexible, and anyone who is unable to meet at the scheduled time can contact Craft at 335-2872 to discuss alternative meetings. Program organizers also can be contacted at the weekly farmers markets, which are held at 6 p.m. Thursdays and rotate through Ethete, Fort Washakie and Arapahoe.
The program even will host classes at the homes of prospective clients who are homebound.
Cent$ible Nutrition strives to reach as many clients as possible, including families of all sizes and individuals of all ages.
Saving time and money
The first lesson is called "new beginnings." It gives clients an opportunity to assess current nutritional and spending habits and determine what changes they would like to make. Each student is given resources to help them determine the best personal nutritional path for them based on age, gender and physical activity, and a place to record money spent on food.
"You have to know what you're spending before you know what you're saving," Craft said.
She said many of her students are able to implement changes within a week, and has had students report saving up to $1,000 a month in food costs, with an average of between $50 and $60 in monthly savings.
Students also learn to cook meals from scratch over the weekends to be frozen and eaten throughout the week. Craft said this is a way to save both time and money and be able to monitor one's diet.
"Truly, our big package is stress-saving too, because we really encourage organization that allows you a lot less stress for a little bit of input," Craft said.
Cent$ible Nutrition is a cooperative program between the United States Department of Agriculture, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the University of Wyoming. It has been in place on the Wind River Reservation since the late 1980s.