Extension, Boys & Girls Club participate in healthy eating, cooking class

WEST PLAINS, Mo. — Throughout the month of July, the University of Missouri Extension office in Howell County partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater West Plains Area to offer select students the opportunity to take a six-session cooking class entitled Cooking Matters Teen Edition.

Twenty middle-school-aged Boys & Girls Club members participated in the class, which instructs adolescents on how to make healthy food choices, and how to prepare healthy meals and snacks for themselves, their families, and their friends.

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Cooking Matters is a University of Missouri Extension program created to provide hands-on activities including practicing reading recipes and food labels, safely handling and using knives, and general healthy eating knowledge. Participants tasted a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while preparing healthier versions of their favorite meals.

Those students participating in the program also learned table etiquette as well as how to set a table properly. Once the meals were prepared, the students sat down at the table, practiced their newly learned table manners, and ate the meals they prepared.  Once the meal was complete, the students then cleaned the kitchen.

As part of the partnership, those who completed the class gained 4-H membership as part of a new system implemented by the University of Missouri called Spin Clubs. Spin Clubs are special interest clubs where five or more young people learn about one specific topic.  In this case, the Boys and Girls Club youth learned about cooking and table etiquette. The design calls for each club to meet six or more times for at least an hour.

This is the second year the West Plains Boys and Girls Club and the Howell County Extension office have partnered to offer the course to students.

For more information on Spin Clubs, 4-H programs, or nutrition programs provided by the Howell County Extension office, contact the Howell County Extension office at 417-256-2391.