Mom, What’s for Dinner?
Nutrition Classes Can Provide the Answer
By: Erika Huddleston, Loudoun Hunger Relief
As a busy, working mother I hear this question nearly every night.
Most times I can answer easily; either we already have a meal prepared from planning done earlier in the week, or I already have something defrosted to cook that night. If I have a struggle putting something on the table for dinner, it is usually because there just hasn’t been any time to plan or cook what is sitting in my kitchen. This isn’t strictly the case for the families we serve at Loudoun Hunger Relief. Many of our clients are also busy working moms – with no time to cook or plan – but are also facing not knowing what the food for that next meal is going to be. When they visit the pantry, will they receive a familiar cut of meat? How do you prepare a vegetable you have never seen let alone cooked before? Could you make a tasty, healthy, and quick meal for your family with the bags of groceries you just received?
LHR’s nutrition education programs focus on answering these questions for our clients. We have teamed with partners to provide nutrition education in several formats. Nutritionists with Five Stones Institute present 1-hour workshops right at the pantry on topics such as “Back to School Snacks and Breakfasts” where attendees learn how to use foods commonly received from LHR’s pantry to provide a meal their family will enjoy. The format allows for a cooking/prep demonstration and sends attendees home with ingredients to make the demo recipes.
With funding in part from 100WomenStrong and Food Lion, and equipment from Sterling Restaurant Supply, we also offer a chef-developed 4-part cooking series. Classes teach the basics about key ingredients, knife skills, menu planning, make-ahead strategies, cooking techniques, equipment, and tips from the pros. Best of all, participants get to eat what they make at the end of class! The final class features recipes and techniques requested by that session’s attendees. The mobile cooking series uses our traveling cooking cart. Our instructors are Loudoun Master Food Volunteers and we partner with community locations such as Sterling Library.
Loudoun Hunger Relief will continue to expand the ways we can serve our neighbors in need with nutritious food, education and community partnerships. For information on future classes visit us on Facebook at /Loudoun Hunger or our website, www.loudouhunger.org.