Healthy for Life cooking classes offered in Yakima

Topic:              Healthy for Life Cooking Classes

Guest:             Dr. Yami Cazorla-Lancaster

Date:               June 2, 2015, 8 a.m.

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and Kohl’s Cares have teamed up to bring you Healthy For Life, a program dedicated to helping you be healthier. The program includes free exercise classes – yoga, boot camp, zumba, which we’ve talked about on the show – and cooking classes geared to encouraging healthy cooking and eating habits in kids.

The instructor of those cooking classes, Dr. Yami Cazorla-Lancaster, is here to offer some tips for parents to get their kids eating healthy this summer.

Why is a healthy diet so important?

It is estimated that 80 percent of our chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, are preventable with lifestyle choices. It’s also estimated that 30 percent of cancers are influenced by diet. One-third of children today are overweight or obese, and diet plays a role in this epidemic.

The time is now to change our eating habits so that we can start to reverse this dangerous trend. A healthy diet is part of a spectrum of lifestyle choices that can not only prolong life, but also give you the quality of life you want – one full of joy and vitality.

It takes time, money and resources to ensure a healthy lifestyle, which poses a challenge for some families. Our goal is to make it easy for you to be healthy!

What do you focus on when you’re teaching a cooking class?

I focus on how simple, easy and delicious it can be to eat more plants. I educate the children and their parents about whole-foods as well as plant-foods. A plant-based diet is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. In my classes, we discuss nutrition, but I also demonstrate at least two recipes, and all of the class participants get to taste it.

My favorite part is seeing their reaction when they taste the food. They see how simple and easy it was to make and that it was made from plants, and they are so surprised when it tastes so good. It’s about empowering children with the knowledge and skills they need to establish healthy habits to carry them well into adulthood.

Can you offer some suggestions?

The reason that eating more whole plant-foods is so beneficial is because they are rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. They are more filling and satisfying and higher in nutrients than processed foods or animal products. I routinely recommend that parents focus on decreasing or eliminating processed foods in the diet and increase fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes. Ideas for each meal include oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, veggie hummus wraps for lunch and bean chili for dinner. Kids love to help out in the kitchen and also really enjoy the element of choice, so setting up a vegetarian taco bar or having them help choose which fruits and veggies they want to try really makes a difference.


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