Who we are:
The Nutrition Education (ED) program offered by St. Mary’s Nutrition Center is a hands-on, cooking centered program that teaches simple nutrition messages and healthy cooking techniques. The program builds community through healthy eating and encourages positive food attitudes and decreases barriers to healthy cooking. The program supports participants in making lifestyle changes that will reduce the risk of nutrition-related diseases. Nutrition ED programs are designed for a diverse range of participants including New Americans, youth, adults and seniors. It offers increased access to healthy foods.
What we do:
The Nutrition ED program empowers families and individuals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make healthy eating choices and provide opportunities to learn to love good food. Participants have opportunities to try new foods and cook meals and snacks that highlight local and seasonal ingredients. Nutrition ED programming offers regular cooking-centered nutrition classes as well as a more intensive healthy eating series’ through the nationally recognized program Cooking Matters.
Nutrition ED programming provides children with a safe environment to try new healthy foods and practice cooking in a kitchen, often for the first time. Weekly Kids Cooking Club-hosted throughout the City at the public library, a local elementary school or a housing complex, introduce children to cooking and nutrition vocabulary and issues of food safety. Featured recipes focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains and provide hands on experiences using kitchen equipment.
Youth and Adult Programs
Youth involved in the Nutrition Center’s job training and leadership programs and adults and seniors who participate in the regular Community Cooking workshops receive foundational nutrition education and cooking skills. Participants learn important “healthy habits” such as reading food labels, making healthy and informed food choices, building balanced meals and incorporating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains into their everyday eating. Youth and adults practice cooking simple recipes for themselves and their families and build confidence in the kitchen. Opportunities to participate in the Cooking Matters series provide a more focused environment offering additional skills around food shopping, meal planning and offer important resources such as cooking tools and groceries.
Somali and Somali Bantu Programs
Good food must not only be accessible, affordable and nutritious it must be culturally appropriate. The Nutrition ED program, Kaaley Ila Kari (Come Cook with Me) is a series of nutrition lessons designed in concert with Somali and Somali Bantu women and taught by Somali Nutrition Educators. Classes provide nutrition education and hands-on cooking and sampling and help participants learn creative ways to add fruits and vegetables to Somali and American dishes.
Specialty programs such as cheese making, bread making and Mother Sauces offer community members the chance to sharpen their culinary skills and expand their knowledge of fine foods. Classes are offered seasonally and in partnership with Lewiston Adult Education.
At the Nutrition Center we offer a full range of cooking centered healthy eating classes and programs for kids, youth and adults. All work depends on the support of dedicated volunteers of all ages, particularly our children’s cooking programs.