How to eat healthy: Start with a plan

People may eat poorly for a variety of reasons, including busy and stressful lives or lack of cooking skills. Tight budgets may add to the problem, especially if you haven’t learned tricks for stretching food dollars.

SNAP Education
SNAP-Ed cooking class with Nutrition Educator Golda Simon

For example, what if nobody ever showed you …

  • the value of planning meals ahead for a full week?
  • how to select the healthiest and most affordable option from the shelf?
  • how to cook easy and economical dishes?

To close that skills gap, a team of nutrition educators are bringing a new series of cooking classes to people enrolled in Washington’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Basic Food or Food Stamps.

“The classes help people learn how to get the most out of their food benefits. We teach that eating well on a budget is possible by buying low-cost, yet nutritious foods to prepare at home,” says Elizabeth Kimball, manager of the SNAP-Education program.

For the first time, recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in King County can get credit for participating in SNAP-Ed cooking classes through the state’s WorkFirst program. The classes are free and open to anyone at many locations around the county.

“Eating a healthy diet is important for good health, and good health is important to maintaining employment, so it makes sense that WorkFirst is supporting this approach,” says Kimball.

The series of four classes include hands-on cooking activities and nutrition tips — as well as handouts to take home to help with planning, shopping and cooking. Classes are offered in both English and Spanish; interpreters for other languages can be arranged.

The “Eat Right When Money’s Tight” classes are a partnership between Public Health – Seattle & King County and Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services, which administers SNAP, TANF and the related WorkFirst program. The classes are also offered at several area food banks.

View the calendar, locations and other details.


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I'm part of the communications team at Public Health - Seattle & King County and work closely with all of the programs in the Community Health Services Division.