Hapi Project case study: Get Cooking, St Athan.

How an 8-Week Cooking Course Helped Participants Cook Healthy Meals with Confidence

Get Cooking is (approximately) an 8 week cooking course designed to teach participants basic cooking skills and how to prepare healthy meals from scratch. The course aims to provide participants with the skills and knowledge they need to make healthy choices when it comes to preparing food alongside learning about nutrition and food hygiene.

When recruiting participants for the course we targeted deprived areas and/or those on low income. With the current cost of living crisis affecting so many of our community members, it’s a huge positive that all ingredients are provided free of charge and meals made are large enough to feed a small family (around 4 portions), and for those without families, enough is made to portion and freeze.

Each learner is given a cookbook which includes a variety of recipes and a workbook to complete in order to gain an Agored level 1 qualification. Participants attend one session per week which provides participants with hands on experience in preparing and cooking the meal.

At the end of the course, participants were asked to provide feedback on their experience. All the participants stated that they had gained confidence in their ability to prepare healthy meals from scratch. They felt more comfortable in the kitchen and were more willing to try new recipes.

One participant expressed surprise at how much they enjoyed the healthier meals they had learned to cook on the course. They said they would continue to cook meals from the cookbook provided and had “already started to make healthier choices when shopping for food”.

Another participant said, “the course has given me more confidence and I plan to get my children involved”. They felt that this would help their children develop healthy habits from an early age.

Participants reported being more aware of healthy options when eating out, and could now follow a recipe, using equipment such as scales which had made a significant difference in their ability to cook healthy meals.

As a result of the course, learners reported making healthier choices, eating less sugar, and consuming more fruits and vegetables.

Within the current climate some community members are quite literally choosing to “heat or eat” so courses like this, where warm food can be provided without the stigma some associate with provisions like food banks are gratefully received. The additional bonus of attending the course is that participants are developing the skills and knowledge needed to kick start healthier decision making when it comes to preparing food, often expressing that it’s “cheaper that they thought” to cook and eat healthily. By empowering individuals with the ability to cook healthy meals, Get Cooking is helping to create healthier communities.