Community Classes

Eat Right When Money’s Tight (ERW$T)

It costs more to eat right, right? Wrong! You can eat well on any budget. Learn how to create healthy, low-cost meals at free ERW$T classes offered by the Center for Healthy Communities at various locations in Chico and nearby communities. At the end of class participants get to take home a free bag of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food items, along with a recipe to creatively put them to good use.

This monthly class shows how to cook healthy recipes, using California’s current Harvest of the Month fruit or vegetable as the main ingredient. It also teaches both food budgeting and meal planning skills. ERW$T participants learn how to prepare a healthy, tasty recipe, such as black bean and corn pitas, curried grapes with quinoa, fruited rice pilaf, or peach crumble. Fun facts and nutrient information about that month’s “harvest” fruit or vegetable—typically colorful, affordable produce grown in California that is known to children—are also shared, along with a cost breakdown for that month’s recipe. An extra food lesson with a related activity touches on other topics, such as using leftovers, freezing produce, planning meals, and comparing food prices.

Get Cookin’

This six-week hands-on cooking class uses the nationally renowned curriculum Cooking Matters. The Center for Healthy Communities offers these free cooking and nutrition classes in English, Spanish, and Hmong, to low-income families in Chico, Oroville, and Thermalito. According to Share Our Strength, which developed the Cooking Matters program: “For 20 years, Cooking Matters has empowered families with the skills to stretch their food budgets and cook healthy meals so their children get nutritious food at home.” In addition to hands-on cooking experience,  Cooking Matters teaches participants how to shop smarter, and to use nutrition information to make healthier food choices.

The Center’s Get Cookin’ classes meet for two hours once each week so families learn how to prepare appealing, nutritious meals even on limited budgets. Participating families take home a bag of groceries with all the ingredients of the day’s recipe. Helping families become more knowledgeable about foods, and more skilled and confident with food preparation provides lasting support for healthy eating.

Leap Into Summer Camp

This week-long summer cooking, nutrition education, and physical activity camp for children ages 7-13 includes swimming at One Mile and other special fun. During camp the kids become the chefs, learning about various cooking techniques, knife safety, and how to prepare a wide variety of fruits and vegetables through hands-on food preparation and cooking. They cook recipes such as hearty egg burritos, tabouli, pumpkin pudding, and stove-top mac 'n' cheese. Cooking activities also incorporate nutrition education on topics such as whole grains, My Plate, and the importance of eating fruits and vegetables.

The culmination of each Leap into Summer camp session is the Kids Chopped Challenge. The challenge is to take a mystery basket of ingredients and transform these food items into a dish that gets high marks on creativity, presentation, and taste. To succeed kids need to use all of the cooking techniques they've learned in camp. A panel of three to four adult judges will watch the competition, cheer on competitors, taste the Chopped Challenge entries, and award the winning team. Leap into Summer is offered in conjunction with the Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) at the CARD Community Center, 545 Vallombrosa Avenue, adjacent to Bidwell Park.