Chris Daly is the founder of Hip4Kids, a New York-based non-profit that teaches young people and their parents about healthy cooking. He tells us why it's so important to learn how to cook better and eat better even on a low budget!
Q: Your organization focuses on teaching others how to cook "better." Can this really improve our health?
A: Yes. I believe a major problem today is the lack of knowledge about cooking. We no longer have cooking classes in schools, like home economics, and if you ask the average student what they're cooking tonight they'll look at you like you're crazy. Kids no longer leave high school with basic knowledge of how to cook for themselves. If you learn how to prepare food, what foods to eat and what a portion is, it helps improve your health and your wallet.
Q: What would you say to someone who said healthy food costs more?
A: Hip4Kids is about teaching people about whole food: how to get it and how it's more affordable than many people think. Greenmarkets are everywhere in New York - many even accept food stamps. (Greenmarkets are New York City's local farmer's markets. For a list of locations and dates, check out http://www.cenyc.org/files/gmkt/map.pdf or go to http://www.cenyc.org/greenmarket for general information). One of our cooking demonstrations, sponsored by the Parks Department, taught the audience how to make four dishes. Each dish could feed four people with leftovers and cost under $5. Eating healthy doesn't have to cost you more.
Q: How can we help our kids lead healthier lifestyles? What are the most important things to do or know?
A: First and foremost, parents can start cooking some of the healthy recipes on the Hip4Kids website with their children. Also, try slowing down. Grab hold of your own schedule or lifestyle, put the breaks on and really think about what you can and will do to be healthier.
And, most importantly, good, healthy cooking does not mean dieting and starving yourself. If you eat the right portion, your body and mind will follow.
It's also important to build a supply healthy of food staples that you can cook with such as brown rice, flour, herbs, spices and healthy cooking oils so that you can cook whenever you want to.