The University of Minnesota Extension’s cooking class led by Roberto Martínez has been a game-changer for the 13 Banyan families looking to adopt healthier eating habits. With his 8 years of teaching experience, Roberto masterfully guides Banyan families through a 6-week comprehensive curriculum that covers essential topics like understanding nutrition labels, reducing intake of unhealthy fats, salts, and sugars, and incorporating more physical activity into daily routines.

“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together.” – Guy Fieri

The class structure, which includes pre- and post-assessments, ensures that participants not only gain valuable knowledge but are well equipped to make healthy activity and food choices. The hands-on cooking sessions allow parents and youth to bond while learning new techniques and recipes. Families learn how to cook with more unusual ingredients, like eggplant, and discuss food related questions.

  • Is it healthier to eat raw or canned or frozen vegetables?

  • Can you use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables?

  • How can you add flavor without adding salt?

  • What’s the proper way to hold a knife while dicing?

  • How many fruit servings should you eat in a day?

Roberto’s expertise and approachable teaching style creates an environment where families feel empowered to make positive changes. The program’s practical focus on achieving the goal of decreased fat, salt, and sugar intake is a testament to its commitment to improving the overall well-being of the community. Every recipe expands a family’s culinary options and outlook.