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Can learning to cook really change your life?

4 September 2012

Thanks to funding from BIG, Let’s Get Cooking – led by Children’s Food Trust – has been able to set up and support hundreds of healthy cooking clubs in schools across the country, to teach children and adults the skills they need to make nutritious and affordable meals from scratch.

Dawn joins Let’s Get Cooking club members at St George’s High School, Blackpool (Credit Chris Bull)

Dawn joins Let’s Get Cooking club members at St George’s High School, Blackpool (Credit Chris Bull)

In this guest blog, Dawn Leonard, the North West Manager for Let’s Get Cooking, shares her personal experience of working with families in her region.

It sounds so dramatic, doesn’t it – the idea that being able to knock up a half-decent meal even when your cupboards are looking a bit bare can mean more than just a full tummy. If you grew up with lots of cooking, it can be hard to appreciate just how lucky you are.

But I’ve lost track of the number of times families have told me that picking up a few simple cooking skills and recipes that they can make at home (without breaking the bank at the supermarket or needing fancy kitchen utensils), has made a huge difference for them.

Some have lost weight and some have seen their food bills slashed as they cut out some of the ready meals and pricey takeaways and cook their Friday night sweet and sour chicken from scratch instead. For many parents, their children are becoming better cooks than they’ve ever been, trying new foods and – yes – actually getting excited about using healthier ingredients. They’re all surprised at how easy it actually is.

Let's Get Cooking has brought children and their families together

Let’s Get Cooking has brought children and their families together

But above anything else, the thing I love most when I’m at one of our Lottery-funded cooking clubs is the laughter you get when families are cooking together.

We all know children love to get stuck into practical activities – and when they can eat the results, learn some essential lessons about a healthy diet without even realising and spend quality time with you, it doesn’t get much better.

And maybe that really is life-changing.

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