The Fresh and Fun Cooking Experience
by: Joshua Moore
Memorial Middle/High School, Millville, NJ
Jayonna Jones and Chanel Davis are students at Memorial High School in Millville, NJ. Like most of my students they both love food, but were also interested in learning how to make healthier food options to reach their individual health goals. I encouraged them to participate in the HealthCorps Cooking Club to learn more.
The club kicked off in October and both Jayonna and Chanel have become regulars. Jayonna shared with me how she practices a lot of what she learns at home as well. “Cooking is fun, especially when you get to make tasty food that’s healthy. It’s also great that I get to take the recipes home with me because I grocery shop with my mom, and can ask her to buy the ingredients!” She added, “I love to make grilled chicken salad with my mom because it’s quick, simple and full of flavor.”
Chanel’s interaction with HealthCorps is twofold because she also is in one of my weekly classes. Chanel’s journey this semester is focused on increasing the amount of healthy foods she eats without sacrificing flavor. We both worked to create a SMART nutrition goal, and use the skills and recipes from cooking club to help make healthier food choices.
Both Jayonna and Chanel have talked about how they enjoy the HealthCorps programs because everything is interactive and hands on.
“It’s great to stay after school and cook because our schedule is busy,” Chanel shared. “I also never made flavored water before and it actually taste pretty good, most of the time!”
Making flavored water for classes is my weekly highlight because of the student’s excitement and mixed reactions. I never know how much lime is too much lime until I get sour faces looking back at me!
I have challenged both girls to try new foods and also asked them to set high goals for themselves. Jayonna and Chanel, like many teenagers, are navigating high school and becoming more independent. Having the opportunity to teach them about nutrition and cooking is great, but their excitement and passion makes the experience incredibly rewarding.