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The Good Nutrition Healthy Families Cookbook

Grass Valley 4-H Club | Nevada County Status: Completed Categories: Food and Nutrition Youth Leader: Ellie | Age: 12

Processed foods cost more money, contain preservatives, high sodium levels and are expensive.  Learning to cook family friendly meals with basic ingredients for a wide variety of easy dishes will allow low-income families to eat better quality food on basic ingredients readily available at the Food Bank. Our club works with the Food Bank and we have learned that they have a surplus of certain grains.

How has 4-H helped?

After working at the Food Bank, club members recognized that many whole grain food products were not taken by families because they didn’t know how to cook things like quinoa and forbidden rice – and yet these whole grains have exceptional nutritional value. The 4-H club met with the Food Bank to develop the project; a few weeks later, a local Girl Scout approached them with the same idea. In true community fashion, the two groups quickly came together to collaborate on the project. Featuring over 100 recipes from local cooks, the cookbook is available to families utilizing the Nevada County Food Bank at no cost. The idea of the cookbook was to develop easy recipes made from scratch ingredients that are routinely available at the food bank. The project helps low-income families learn to make healthier food rather than use pre-packaged items that often are high in fat, salt and lack solid nutrition.

Making it easy for busy families to eat right on a budget is very important during the tough economy over the past few years. Healthy eating can be fun and tasty!

Committee meetings were held over the summer with a focus on featuring ingredients readily available at the food bank and incorporating the fresh vegetables from the new Healthy Harvest Garden Project. Committee members cooked recipes and brought them to the meetings to share with the other families in order to test the recipes and review nutritional information. A call for recipes from the community was given through a press release and distributed through the 4-H green sheet newsletter. The Project Coordinator for the Nevada County Nutritional Education and Obesity Prevention Program learned of the cookbook’s development and offered additional funds for copies to be distributed through their program. This helped get a better per book printing cost due to the quantity printed with the expanded budget. The printer selected to complete the book also offered to pay the cost of a color cover with a plastic shield to keep it clean, as cookbooks often get dirty while being used. The Drama Project developed three cooking demonstration videos that are available online at YouTube. One of the demonstrations was played at the Nevada County 4-H Council meeting to rave reviews. Once the books were printed, they were distributed through the Nevada County Food Bank. Look at the Cookbook here.>

The Impact

The cookbook project was important because it helped over 750 families in our community re-think the way they eat. You can add high nutritional value to your meals without a lot of time and effort. Introducing new grains like quinoa to families gave them new options for making food to not only please their families’ taste buds, but also help them lead a healthier life. A section on reducing sugary drinks in your family by using fruit and herb infused waters surprised many people tasting the drinks. Many couldn’t believe there was no added sugar and how much they enjoyed the new taste combinations. Making it easy for busy families to eat right on a budget is very important during the tough economy over the past few years. Healthy eating can be fun and tasty!