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United Way Promotes Healthy Eating, Togetherness through Family Teaching Kitchens

November 21, 2012

Nashville, Tenn.—November 21, 2012—On Oct. 15, 2012, at the Coleman Park Community Center, 17 families gathered to attend United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s Family Teaching Kitchens. They were not there just to eat, however; mothers and sons, husbands and wives, grandparents and grandchildren all came to learn how to prepare a healthy meal on a budget. United Way Family Teaching Kitchens are the result of the United Way Women United in Giving focus to reverse obesity trends.
United Way Board member and chair of Women United in Giving, Anne Russell, attended the event to volunteer and express how the group’s vision and passion to teach families how to make healthy eating a reality will impact the community and cut the obesity crisis. Women United in Giving is partnering with the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Metro Parks & Recreation and the Nashville Public Library in a critical study to prevent childhood obesity. The United Way Family Teaching Kitchens initiative is a hands-on component of that study.
Volunteers supporting the kitchen represented six key United Way of Metropolitan Nashville corporate partners, including OHL, CAT Financial, Permanent General, Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Gaylord Entertainment.
The Family Teaching Kitchen was set up with six stations; participants rotated through learning about a variety of vegetables, the nutritional value, and how to cut and prepare them. Family members learned how to read nutrition labels, when to select store brands versus name brands, how to decrease the amount of fat in dips by using plain yogurt, and how to brown meat and sauté vegetables for the main course: ground turkey chili.
Guests received their final chili tutorial from a special guest chef at the event, Cynthia Tinnel. Ms. Tinnel is cafeteria manager for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools at Henry Maxwell Elementary School in Antioch, but was recognized for her recent success as winner of the Food Network show, “Chopped,” where she competed against four other school chefs.
Ms. Tinnel is passionate about providing her students with not only enough food, but with the right types of food. She sees the poverty and challenges that families face on a daily basis and knows that many children leave school and do not have a balanced meal until they return. This commitment to showing families how easy it can be to make healthy choices on a budget made her the perfect selection to lead this United Way Family Teaching Kitchen.
Guests received copies of the recipes and learned that they can make the same dish at home for $11, feeding a family of four with left overs. Attendees received a grocery bag filled with all of the ingredients necessary to make the dish.
United Way of Metropolitan Nashville will host additional Family Teaching Kitchen events throughout November and December.

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