Community Health Nutrition Program says give soup a chance
December 5, 2018
Gila River Indian News
In a hurry, short on time and needing to prepare a meal for the whole family? The Community Health Nutrition Program has a convenient way of preparing home cooked meals. The program held soup cooking class at the District 6 Tribal Health Department building on Dec. 5.
The soup cooking class is one of many activities hosted by the Nutrition Coalition made up of various Community departments and entities who teach people how to prepare healthy meals.
The Nutrition Coalition has been around since April and is the result of a “Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country” five-year grant provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that is administered through the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona.
The Nutrition Coalition educates Community members on healthy eating, and they conduct assessments, host health-related activities, and recruit GRIC members to join the coalition.
At the soup cooking class, Community Health Nutritionist Lynn Lane said, “We are providing recipes that are more towards traditional foods, so squash is considered a traditional food among many Native American tribes.”
On the menu, the soup cooking class prepared a roasted butternut squash, squash and apple with cranberry sauce and minestrone soups. The class encouraged the participants to get involved and help prepare the soups, to show how easy the recipes can be made.
The recipes are taken from a book created by an American Indian Chef Sean Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. He has established a reputation of cooking using traditional Native foods with a contemporary spin.
Other Nutrition Coalition members, who helped with the activity were, Gila River Health Care Life Center Youth Education Coordinator Taneesha Watson, Community Health Nutritionist Nicole Watson, Community Health Education Specialist Talia Porter.
Each coalition member shared their experiences with recipes and offered ways to add more ingredients to their liking. Participants also shared their experiences growing up in the Community, having their own garden and preparing foods taken from off of the land.
Lane, said the cooking classes are about introducing individuals to recipes that can be prepared in an easy step-by-step process.
Taneesha said, “Even though we are the ones hosting it, we try it together, it’s about going back to that sense of a Community.”
For those calorie counters, no need to look any further, because each of the recipes requires very little ingredients and focuses on bringing out the natural sweetness, tartness, and flavor of the vegetables used to create the soup.
When it comes to broth, most people think there are only two choices, chicken or beef stock, but there’s a third option, which is vegetable stock.
Before the soup cooking class, the coalition members made their own broth out of boiled vegetables. Some of the recipes used also included apple cider, sparkling cider, and apple cider vinegar.
The coalition encourages Community members to join the meetings and give their input on the services and activities.
Nicole, is developing an assessment on the availability of healthy foods in the Community and how much health and wellness is promoted in GRIC.
After the cooking class concluded, each participant was given a basket filled to the brim with vegetables, a set of bowls for the kitchen, apron and an assortment of healthy foods.
For anyone interested in joining the Nutrition Coalition or participating in future events, the next meeting is Jan. 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the Tribal Health Building. For questions or more information, please call (520) 562-5100.