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Area families learn to cook healthy meals

The Spott family learns to cook with vegetables and eggs.1 / 2
Sarah Johnson (background), UW Extension nutrition educator from New Richmond, helps Lillie Janousek learn to sauté vegetables.2 / 2

Cooking healthy meals is fun when you can do it with other families at a nearby location.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension and WestCAP have teamed up to offer an eight-week program for families called "Family Table." Parents and children get together once a week to learn about nutrition and cook meals featuring healthy, low-cost ingredients.

After the first six weeks, the Spott family from New Richmond is happy that they signed up. They want to involve their daughter, Megan, in learning new cooking skills and have a goal to eat healthier as a family.

"Megan never ate vegetables before the class, and now she is sautéing veggies a couple times a week," Jon Spott said.

Nancy Spott adds, "We just purchased a steamer and tried steaming broccoli. Megan ate her helping and half of my plate."

Megan is proud of the fact that she learned to cut up vegetables and make soup and says that the family is doing more together in the kitchen.

The Janousek family from Baldwin also signed up for the class to involve the children in learning about healthy food choices.

First- and third-graders, Lillie and Jacob, have enjoyed tracking their vegetables on a chart, making sure that they eat some different colored veggies each day. They also keep track of how they help with family meals.

Each child is planning to work with their mom to plan a meal soon.

"I really like to learn how to do stuff in the kitchen without screwing up," Lillie said.

Jacob adds, "This class is awesome. I make food and make friends." He is cautiously trying some vegetables such as red pepper for the first time.

Family Table is made possible with a grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin awarded to WestCAP. New sessions are starting in April in Glenwood City (Tuesdays starting April 2) and Spring Valley (Wednesdays starting April 3). Interested families should enroll now by calling WestCAP at 1-715-2654271. Income guidelines apply but are quite generous.