'New Week, New You': Culinary program teaches families new, health cooking techniques

SAN ANTONIO – The goal of the Culinary Health Education Program at the Mays Family YMCA on the West Side is to learn something new about food. 

"Learning how to cook is a big piece of changing your lifestyle at home," said Chelsea Crawford, the registered dietician who leads the CHEF program. "We give them all the tools that they need and these recipes help support that healthy eating 'cause it's affordable and quick."

The CHEF program is a five-week cooking course open to families, children, and seniors who want to learn cooking techniques and recipes that can be recreated at home.

Part of the goal of the program is to introduce families to foods with which they may not already be familiar.

"It's about the experiment in the kitchen and being comfortable having that confidence and learning these skills," Crawford said.

Parents are encouraged to bring their entire families to the class. Right now, the youngest member is 5 years old.

"A lot of times, unfamiliar foods kind of scare people. Getting picky eaters into the kitchen, getting them involved in cooking, plays a huge role in the foods that they accept," Crawford said.

In order to make sure people aren't scared by the ingredients being used, Crawford keeps her menu a secret. When picking foods for each class, she considers color, taste, texture and cost.

"This is a wholesome whole-grain bowl. What is nice about it is it has a lot of color, too. It represents a lot of different nutrients, and it's a complete meal," Crawford said.

Chickpeas, spinach, whole grains, avocado and cilantro all go into the whole grain bowl, which Crawford said, is a class favorite because it can easily be changed.

If you're interested in trying out a class, the CHEF program has different events throughout the month.

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