Perla and her two children live in Colorado. It’s a crowded household, with three generations living under one roof.
Her children get breakfast and lunch at school, through the federal school meals programs. The family also relies on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and local food pantries to put meals on the table each night.
Perla learned about Cooking Matters through the kids’ school and signed up to take the class with her mother. “We really loved it,” Perla says.
Money is tight, so Perla is used to shopping strategically. She often buys store brands and is always on the lookout for coupons. Cooking Matters added another tool to her shopping strategy: comparing unit prices to get the best deal.
Another simple tip Perla picked up in Cooking Matters is to buy whole foods and prepare them yourself. At the store, she reaches for whole carrots instead of packaged baby carrots. “It’s the same thing, but it’s just cheaper,” she says.
The family is making small changes to the way they cook and eat, based on what Perla learned in Cooking Matters. Refried beans are a household staple, but they’re now cooked in vegetable oil instead of lard. Soda is limited to weekends. They are drinking more water, sometimes adding fresh fruit for flavor as Perla learned to in class.
“We’re still working on it,” Perla says of the family’s healthy eating habits. “But it’s gotten really better.”
Perla is glad to see the changes the family has made and her kids’ interest in healthy food. “It makes me feel that I’m making something for them, for their health,” she says. “Not only for me, but for them.”