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From Cooking Skills To Life - The Great Little Cookbook

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
From Cooking Skills To Life - The Great Little Cookbook

A cookbook incorporating healthy budgeting and lifestyle advice as well as tasty, nutritious recipes was named winner of the inaugural People's Choice Award at the Canterbury District Health Board's Quality Improvement and Innovation Awards this month.

The Great Little Cook Book (GLCB) is a resource developed by Ministry of Social Development in response to an identified need to demonstrate a healthy diet is achievable with the right skills.

Community and Public Health project co-ordinator Janne Pasco says having a healthy, nutritious diet is often seen as too expensive for many people.

"Lack of cooking skills and life skills also fosters a dependency on takeaways and fast foods. The cookbook shows simple ways to choose, prepare and serve healthy, inexpensive food, also adding nutrition tips where appropriate."

The book was developed after research found participants had greater motivation to prepare and cook healthy meals when lessons on nutrition and eating guidelines, budgeting, supermarket shopping and menu planning preceded practical cooking skill sessions.

"The course has been shown to increase participants' nutritional knowledge and develop their confidence," says Janne Pasco.

Organisations such as the Salvation Army helped deliver the course into the community.

"This has been shown to reduce inequalities, minimise social isolation and improve the wellbeing of participants and their whanua/families," says Janne Pasco. "By the end of the course, the most frequent response to healthy eating was to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in the diet. Participants also talked about increasing fibre and decreasing sugar and fat."

There were also social benefits with participants reporting a reduction in social isolation and increased self-esteem.

The success of the Cooking Skills to Life Skills programme has seen it developed into a resource to help older people struggling with poor nutrition and it has been translated into Cantonese - the first such translation in New Zealand.

"As a result of the 'From Cooking Skills to Life Skills' programme, sustainable nutrition education programmes are now evolving in other communities in Canterbury, the West Coast, Timaru, Counties Manukau and Hutt Valley," says Janne Pasco.

Canterbury DHB Corporate Quality and Risk Manager Jan Nicholson says this year there were three times as many submissions from community-based services in the Quality Improvement and Innovation awards than in previous years.

The annual awards are designed to recognise, reward and publicly acknowledge the excellent quality improvements and innovations generated by staff of the Canterbury DHB and community based health services in three categories - Community Based Service, Hospital and Specialist Service, and Systems Improvement. The People's Choice award was a new category introduced this year and the public voted for their favourite on the website.

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