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Cooking Matters at The Pagosa Nurturing Center

Young families at The Pagosa Nurturing Center recently completed their very first Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters classes, and celebrated at their last class by sharing their most favorite meal at the low cost of $10 per family.

No one thought at first that they could do it, but with a shopping tour at City Market the week before to learn how to read nutrition labels, shop the perimeter of the store for the healthiest of foods and to comparison shop, they all did it — and with money to spare!

Each class taught hands-on meal preparation with particular emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole-grains, practical nutrition information and food budgeting skills. Everyone received recipes and a bag of groceries each week to reinforce and practice what they learned from the day’s lesson. Young participants and their parents learned the importance of healthy eating as a family and the importance of working together to plan and prepare healthy meals on a budget.

Moms, dads and school-aged children had fun tasting new foods and acquired cooking techniques that will last them a lifetime. Everyone was pleasantly surprised to find that smoothies could taste good (even with spinach included in the blend) and mushrooms were really OK as long as they were diced really small.

Youngsters worked together with their families, using their own special knives and cutting boards, making each meal a collaborative effort.

Erin Jolley was our fantastic coordinator; Jaime DeGraaf and Tess Challis assisted with super-fun activities to learn about nutrition and good reasons to avoid certain foods and beverages like Red Bull, for instance, that actually contains nine teaspoons of sugar in a two-serving can.

The energy and eagerness to learn by the children was inspiring to all the adults as we watched them grow in their prep and cooking skills just like real chefs.

For more information about future Cooking Matters classes and other programs at The Pagosa Nurturing Center, contact the staff at or (970) 507-7093. We can also be found on

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