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Cooking Matters: In the New Year, Learn to Cook Healthy Food on a Budget

Cooking Matters: In the New Year, Learn to Cook Healthy Food on a Budget

By Ruthie Boyd, Public Health Marketing Coordinator

While COVID continues to shape the ways we interact with others every day, one thing remains: we still need to shop for groceries, plan our meals, and eat nutritious food. And for many, it is more important than ever to have the tools necessary to eat well on a budget.

When I heard about Tri-County Health Network’s online adaptation of Cooking Matters, a class designed to give you the tools to cook healthfully on a budget, I was excited to join. As a recent college graduate, navigating the world of cooking for myself has been an exciting transition. But with limited time and resources, I felt that I was lacking some of the essential tools to help ease my transition and keep track of my priorities.

I wanted to learn how to make my meals healthy, easily, and affordable- and Cooking Matters helped me do just that.

Setting the stage: what do you want to learn?

During our first class, our instructor, Ruth, asked us all why we had joined the course and what we wanted to learn. One participant wanted to meet people in the community during this isolating time, while also learning to cook on a budget- another was interested in learning more about basic food storage techniques, and a third was curious learning to scan the grocery store shelves for the most affordable and most nutritious canned good items.

Since Cooking Matters takes an evidence-based approach that breaks down the skills you need to know into easy-to-understand segments, class was engaging and informative. Ruth made sure to involve everyone, asking each member frequent questions about their own experience. She was sure to incorporate other topics that we inquired about, too- like how to best thaw frozen bread or whether knives can go in the dishwasher.

Covering the bases: food safety and storage

Each week that our class met, we went over a different component of the curriculum: food storage and safety, a virtual grocery store tour, substituting ingredients, and cooking on a budget are a few of the topics we covered. I learned things I hadn’t thought about before! For example- do you know how to properly cut an onion without making your eyes water? Have you ever thought about freezing half the loaf of bread if you won’t go through it quickly enough? I hadn’t!

Eating healthfully and affordably

In our grocery store tour, I learned that even when products look like they are the same price, they might not be- and that you should always compare ounces to see which one is a better deal overall. I also learned how to shop more healthfully- for example, canned goods often have added ingredients like salt and sugar that you should check for when you purchase them, and flavored yogurt has a lot of added sugar that can be avoided if you purchase the plan version and add your own sweetener, like honey or maple syrup.

Putting skills into practice

Now that it has been a few months since I was a student in the class, I’m happy to say that it’s been easy to put the skills I learned in Cooking Matters into practice. I feel better equipped to navigate the grocery store, I know how to pick out items that are nutritious and affordable and I have the skills to make the whole production come together- in the form of a tasty four serving meal for only $10!

How to join

While the past year has been challenging in many ways, Cooking Matters helped me simplify the most consistent aspect of my life- maintaining a healthy diet on a tight budget. The virtual format is easy to understand and convenient to join, and my class with Ruth was a very positive experience.

If you are interested in participating in Cooking Matters this January, sign up here! Participants receive a $10 grocery voucher after each course.

To learn more and register, click here.

New Year’s Resolutions: Why bother, or chance for positive change?

New Year’s Resolutions: Why bother, or chance for positive change?

By Ruth Homan, Community Health WorkerThe beginning of a new year prompts us to feel like it is time for a fresh start. There seems to be an innate desire to make positive changes in our lives; trying to improve ourselves physically, intellectually, or socially. According to finder.com, 74 percent of American adults reported the wish… Continue Reading

CORE (Co-Responder) Program in San Miguel County: Bettering Behavioral Health Outcomes

CORE (Co-Responder) Program in San Miguel County: Bettering Behavioral Health Outcomes

By Corinne Cavender, Behavioral Health Operations CoordinatorHave you heard about the Co-Responder program we have in San Miguel County? Well, if you haven’t, buckle up and read carefully… you’re going to want to take a note of this one.  Recently we had the privilege of interviewing Robin Slater LPC., LAC. for a KOTO Access show. Robin works for the San Miguel County… Continue Reading

Colorado Legislature Approves Millions to Support Coloradans with their Energy Costs

Colorado Legislature Approves Millions to Support Coloradans with their Energy Costs

By Sean MacDonellLast week, Colorado legislators passed a coronavirus relief bill that will allocate millions to small businesses and non-profits, including five million dollars for Energy Outreach to help Coloradans weatherize their homes and assist with energy bill payments.Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) is a statewide organization that helps Coloradans year-round pay for electricity, natural gas,… Continue Reading

National Rural Health Day: The Power of Rural is The Way We Work

National Rural Health Day: The Power of Rural is The Way We Work

By Ruthie Boyd, Marketing Coordinator VISTA“I Like The Way You Work”I handed our seven-year-old patient’s mother a bag full of Skippy goodies, including a new toothbrush, floss, and a sheet outlining nearby dentists who accept Medicaid and CHP. And as I did, her eyes smiled at us. She thanked our dental hygienist, Claire, for the… Continue Reading

2021 Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period Approaches!

2021 Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period Approaches!

By Greg Fischer, Program SupervisorTri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) is gearing up to help local residents enroll in health insurance during the 2021 Open Enrollment Period. Open Enrollment officially begins November 1 and runs through December 15to ensure coverage starting January 1, 2021. An extended enrollment period runs from December 16th to January 15th for coverage… Continue Reading

Every 6 months Even During a Pandemic – Skippy Mobile Dental Clinic Offers the Ultimate Convenience

Every 6 months Even During a Pandemic – Skippy Mobile Dental Clinic Offers the Ultimate Convenience

By Gina Gurreri, Community Programs Development SupervisorOn a hike this weekend, an out-of-state visitor asked me what I do for work in this area. When I explained that I manage Skippy, Tri-County Health Network’s mobile dental clinic that provides oral healthcare to children in the San Miguel, Ouray, West End, and Delta region, they remarked… Continue Reading

Suicide During a Pandemic

Suicide During a Pandemic

Written by Paul Reich, Behavioral Health Program ManagerWhile headlines across the United States focus on the loss of life due to COVID-19, it is important to recognize that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and September 6th to the 12th is Suicide Prevention Week.  In 2018, over 48,000 Americans died by suicide, including almost 1,300… Continue Reading

Suicide – Hope, Resilience, and Recovery

Suicide – Hope, Resilience, and Recovery

Written by Paul Reich, Behavioral Health Program ManagerTraditional religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, have long viewed suicide as a sin against God.   The Catholic Church used to forbid a funeral mass or burial in a Catholic cemetery, considering suicide a mortal sin.  Until quite recently, suicide was illegal in some Western European countries, with… Continue Reading

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