It's Time Texas: Cooking class teaches healthy habits - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

It's Time Texas: Cooking class teaches healthy habits at St. Paul's

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TYLER (KYTX) - Old habits are hard to break. That's especially true for which foods you cook for your family.

In our It's Time Texas Report, the "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Program" is teaching East Texans that the time is now to learn the principles of healthy eating.

There's something very refreshing about fresh fruit and a tall glass of water on a hot summer day, but that's not on the menu for some families in East Texas.

"A lot of these women already know how to cook.  They just cook unhealthily," says Jackie Erlandson.  "If you're not doing the vegetables and doing the meat, fat and starches, it becomes a really unhealthy diet."

St. Paul's Healthy Kids, Healthy Families program is partnering with Bethesda and Chef Christian Chavanne's Healthy Eating Action Team.  We just want to remind them that they can make some good choices for yourself and your family.  It doesn't have to cost a whole bunch of money. It is cheaper than going to the doctor," says Chef Christian Chavanne. 

They're reaching out to the moms and children at the free summer lunch program offering them key principles for making a well-balanced meal.

One of the things the ladies are learning is how to make healthy desserts.  Chef Christian made a healthy fruitcake with watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe pineapple topped with kiwi and surrounded by strawberries and blueberries.

Families say they're excited about the healthy alternatives-- even a substitute for sugary soft drinks.  "We are doing a cucumber, mint and lime drink, so there is no sugar.  But, there is lots of flavor. The salsa the chef made isn't processed either, it's made with fresh mangos. "I wanted to use stuff that is in season this time of year and is pretty common," says the Chef.

So, cooking low fat and low sodium becomes a way of life and a life free of obesity and diabetes.

They're also learning food safety. All of the sampled food was prepared offsite in a kitchen.  St. Paul Children's Foundation isn't just teaching better eating habits, they've also expanded into an exercise program where many of the moms walk together.