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About Cooking Matters
woman in grocery store holding asparagus, and smiling

For over 20 years, Cooking Matters has empowered families with the skills to stretch their food budgets and cook healthy meals so their children get nutritious food at home.

As part of the No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America, Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters teaches participants to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. Founded in 1993, Cooking Matters and thousands of volunteer instructors have helped more than 265,000 low-income families in communities across the country learn how to eat better for less.

Share Our Strength founded Cooking Matters on a unique model of collaboration between Share Our Strength and local program partners that leverages the strengths of all involved. Share Our Strength provides professional-level curricula and instructional materials, training, evaluation and national leadership support while local program partners provide hands-on, grassroots-level resources, program customizations and relationships that are best addressed on the local level. This collaborative program model makes Cooking Matters uniquely effective, efficient and sustainable among national nonprofit education programs.

Together, we and our partners serve families across the country through:

Interactive Grocery Store Tours

Cooking Matters at the Store tours provide families with hands-on education as they shop for food, giving them skills to compare foods for cost and nutrition. Participants learn how to plan and budget for healthy, affordable, and delicious meals for their families. Learn more about our Store Tours.

Hands-On Cooking Courses

Community partners that serve low-income families offer six-week Cooking Matters courses to adults, kids and families. Each course is team-taught by a volunteer chef and nutrition educator and covers meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. Adult and teen participants take home a bag of groceries at the end of each class. Learn more about our Cooking Courses.

Educational Tools

In order to serve even more families across the country, Share Our Strength offers free educational tools that build on the proven success of our signature cooking courses and grocery store tours. They are available for any individual to use in any community. Check out our Educational Tools.Cooking Matters Programming Online

Cooking Matters is now moving to make some of our programming available online. Through a recent partnership with Better Kid Care a basic version of Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals can be accessed for professional development. Once in the Better Kid Care system, click on the lesson title – Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals: Basics

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It’s Dinnertime
woman cooking dinner

It's Dinnertime, a national survey of low-income parents, delves into families' efforts to prepare and eat healthy meals and the need for food skills education.

It's Dinnertime:  No Kid Hungry collaborated with APCO Insight on a national survey to understand low-income families’ efforts to plan, shop and cook healthy meals.   The national survey found that low-income families are frequently cooking dinner at home, mostly from scratch, but are not eating as healthfully as they'd like, particularly due to cost.  Food skills education programs can help bridge this gap by teaching families how to shop for healthy foods on a budget and to make healthy and affordable meals. 

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The Long-Term Impact of Cooking Matters Courses
Young boy and girl learning about cooking portion sizes.

Cooking Matters courses have a sustained impact on families' meal preparation and food resource management practices.

No Kid Hungry collaborated with Altarum Institute to conduct the first national impact study of six-week Cooking Matters courses.  The long-term study found that the Cooking Matters course has a powerful and sustained impact on families taking the course compared to those who do not participate in the course.  After learning the Cooking Matters strategies, families have more positive attitudes about cooking, leading them to cook more often; consume and make healthier, more budget-friendly meals; and possess more confidence that they’ll be able to stretch their food dollars each month.  The powerful impact of the Cooking Matters program on child nutrition also has implications for health, since a healthier diet is associated with a lower risk for poor health outcomes.

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The Long Term Impact of Cooking Matters Tours
Young girl shopping for bananas.

Cooking Matters is effective in helping families to manage food resources and purchase healthy foods.

No Kid Hungry collaborated with Altarum Institute to conduct a follow-up study of the Cooking Matters at the Store tour program.  The study evaluated the tour’s impact on the ability of families to purchase affordable and healthy food.  The follow-up study found that families buy healthier foods after the tour, including fruits and vegetables, and have more success in stretching their food resources.

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