Common Threads wants us to get cooking this month. January has been named Cooking for Life month with a goal of raising awareness and support for not only nutrition and healthy eating but also the importance of cooking and preparing wholesome food at home.
Common Threads is a nonprofit dedicated to emphasizing the importance of nutrition to children and their communities through education about healthy eating and cooking. The organization’s mission is based on co-founder Art Smith‘s belief that “Our world is a large quilt and its people are the fabric — colorful swatches of beautifully woven material — all joined together by these common threads: family and food.” The organization’s approach to educating kids is meant to create a long-term change in their behavior and interest in food. Common Threads seeks to “address students’ personal factors by teaching cooking skills to inspire confidence in the kitchen and new attitudes towards food, interpersonal factors by involving adult volunteers, students’ families and their peers, and environmental factors by including the surrounding community, organizations and schools.” Their comprehensive research-based methods are geared toward inspiring change and creating good habits now that will hopefully last into adulthood. A single donation of $25 gives an elementary student hands-on experience through eight cooking and nutrition classes taught in schools or during after-school programs.
To help spread the word about #COOKINGFORLIFE, Common Threads has partnered with culinary celebrities including Gail Simmons and chef Fabio Viviani and health expert Frances Largeman-Roth to film cooking tutorials that feature recipes like turkey meatballs, quinoa salad and a kale frittata from the Cooking for Life handbook. The detailed handbook is meant to get families and kids excited and interested in cooking nutritious meals together. The free, downloadable guide includes a budget-friendly eight-week meal plan, a shopping list and a produce guide, all of which were created through partnerships with registered chefs and dietitians. As an added incentive to get kids and their families cooking across the country, they are also giving participants the opportunity to win a trip to Walt Disney World. To enter, download the handbook, cook your favorite recipe from the guide and then post it on social media with #COOKINGFORLIFE and tag @common__threads.
This year, Common Threads hopes to reach 1 million kids across the country to get them in the kitchen. Co-founders Smith and Jesus Salgueiro believe that they can bring children and their families together by inspiring them to cook because “family and food have the power to nurture and strengthen us, to connect us to culture and community, and to teach and excite us about our world.”
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