My Cooking Matters Experience

February 13, 2012 at 6:29 am Leave a comment

Editor’s note: This post is by our intern from Wayne State University, Melanie Wierda.

As a Wayne State University student within the Coordinated Program in Dietetics who shies away from public attention, I panicked when I learned I would be leading the nutrition portion of a six-week series of Cooking Matters EXTRA for Parents of Preschoolers. I was to guide a 40-minute discussion each week with a concentration on participant interaction and sharing.
Before I knew it, it was the night before my first class and I was pacing around my living room re-enacting how my class would go or at least how I was hoping it would proceed. My roommate even volunteered to test out her acting ability by acting as if she was a class participant, asking potential questions and nodding in all the right places.
Sleep did not come easily that night and I woke up at the crack of dawn to realize that I was utterly terrified.
The first class came and went, and to my surprise, I survived! Things were not perfect, but the class participants and I were all able to learn from each other on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle. As the weeks progressed, I gradually found myself more comfortable as I related to the participants, shared what I knew, and learned from the volunteer chef. I discovered I really enjoyed discussing the topic of whole grains and how to detect whole grains in the store. Furthermore, I was able to see this information applied during the grocery store tour being that when I looked down the bread aisle I saw the participants reading not the fronts of the bags but the ingredient lists!

Melanie asks a participant to compare yogurt labels during the Week 5 grocery store tour.


I also found myself relating to the stories of the participants overcoming their obstacles, and in turn I found an increased sense of motivation in my own life. A common hurdle we all shared was that it is difficult to find the motivation to prepare meals after a long day. Individuals began sharing their tips to reduce meal preparation time and I began to apply those at home. Now, I even find that I have been visiting my favorite take-out locations less and instead have been opting for homemade meals. More specifically, inspired from last week’s class, I tried the frittata recipe out of the Cooking Matters’ book. Since I was only cooking for one, I decided to bake the frittata in a muffin tin to accommodate for breakfast on the go and portion control. They were fantastic! Interestingly enough, I did not even know I liked eggs until last week’s class.
Overall, this experience not only pushed me to confront my fears but also served as a catalyst behind my interest in community nutrition. Over the past few weeks, I grew as a nutrition educator and as a nutrition student. I now find myself practicing what I advocate in a more realistic and financially sensible manner. Plus, I am better cook!

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Entry filed under: Experiences. Tags: , , .

Volunteer spotlight: Hadley Hickner Meet the newest Cooking Matters coordinator, Vani Sohikian

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USDA Statement

This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. This work is supported in part by the Michigan Department of Human Services, under contract number ADMIN-10-99011. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Michigan Fitness Foundation or the Michigan Department of Human Services. In accordance with Federal law and USDA policy, these institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720- 6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more contact the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline at (855) ASK-MICH. Space-Limited USDA/DHS/MNN Credit Statement This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. These institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. People who need help buying nutritious food for a better diet call the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline: (855) ASK-MICH.

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