Building a Bright Future.
Stacy and Erik live in Colorado with their two young daughters. Erik is an active duty infantry officer and earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in Afghanistan. Stacy works and is also a nursing student. Both parents are focused on finishing school and building a bright future for their daughters. Money and time are tight with two parents taking classes and working. The family receives WIC benefits to help supplement their food budget. Stacy spends about an hour and a half every week scanning the grocery circulars and clipping coupons. “I shop when stuff is really cheap,” she says.
Cooking Matters was offered at their local Head Start center, and Stacy signed up. She had a pretty good idea about how to eat healthy before Cooking Matters, but she is now more aware of her choices when grocery shopping. “I learned quite a few new things, like unit pricing, that I didn’t really look for before.”
Stacy now buys in bulk and freezes what she’s not going to use right away, helping her save money on meat. She’s also taking portion size into account more - a 32-ounce block of cheese now lasts a couple of weeks because she weighs each portion. Before taking Cooking Matters, Stacy said “I feel like I was wasting a lot of money.”
The family loves the recipes that Stacy learned in the course. Stovetop Mac and Cheese is really popular with her daughters, and Stacy adds broccoli and chicken to boost the nutritional value – a lesson she learned in class. Pineapple Carrot muffins made with half whole wheat flour are in regular rotation in the household. A dinner that the family enjoys is a casserole with tuna, broccoli and brown rice. This meal is an example of “recipe frameworks” taught in a course. Recipes don’t always have to be followed exactly. Meals can be based around what is in the pantry, what’s on sale, or what the family prefers.
Even with her background in nursing and interest in healthy eating, Stacy feels she learned a lot in Cooking Matters. “I think the most important thing I got out of it is knowing the better choice,” she explains.