I went to the most awesome cooking class a couple weeks ago at the Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch. Aptly named Sizzling Simplicity: Asian Wok Cookery, it was a class on preparing quick, sweet or savory variations of Asian dishes using a wok. Our chef immediately drew us in with her passion for playing in the kitchen with different tastes and flavors, as she casually discussed her love for food and nutrition. We learned how to cook – and got to taste firsthand – 3 different dishes. The aromas of these different dishes filled the room and tantalized our palates even before the food hit our mouths! I left inspired to cook more Asian dishes, and I also left very impressed by our instructor.
|Cindy Kleckner, RD, LD|
Recently, I had the opportunity to do a one-on-one interview with Cindy. We got to talk about her food and cooking philosophy, her book and the cooking classes and on-on-one nutrition counseling she offers here locally:
Funny, even as a kid I had an interest in food.....coming from an ethnic family (Polish) we had very strong traditions. My father died of a massive heart attack at age 33 so we focused more on prevention even though we didn't realize it at the time. Nutrition and dietetics was such a great fit for me. My beloved Easy Bake oven was a fave back in the day!!
It is THE BEST gift you can give to future generations to spend some time exploring in the kitchen, taking a field trip to the farmers market and modeling that food IS indeed an important part of our health. There are classes offered for families which make an exciting, family activity. It is also a good way to reign in the food budget by learning how to cook fresh food fast.
Techniques such as foil pouch dinners (just like girl scout camp outs) which can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the oven or on the grill - and done in no time. Both Stir fry and crock pot cookery are also excellent ways to get food on the table fast. Recipes are included in our cookbook. We've seen a decline in culinary literacy to the point that most people are lost without packaged food and take-out containers. I guarantee that a few sessions in my demo kitchen will help families gain confidence to get cooking the healthy way.
If it’s an old family favorite, ingredients can be substituted to reduce fast, sugar and salt such as substituting canned evaporated skim milk for whole milk or cream. Wholesome, high quality ingredi ents (whole food) need only simple cooking techniques - such as a piece of deliciously grilled wild salmon served with a squeeze of a grilled half lemon, or rubbed with some smoked paprika, cinnamon, thyme and orange zest........a real party in your mouth!
It’s not always about "giving up" but rather what to add to make your diet healthier. Besides being conscious of sodium intake, it is very important to substitute plant protein, add fruits, vegetables and more whole grains to the diet to add potassium, magnesium and calcium. Here is a cheat sheet I created that will help your readers: Cindy’s hypertension cheat sheet.
8. I absolutely love watching you in action at your cooking classes. They are chocked full of super practical cooking tips that make people want to get into their kitchen and get cooking. Tell me about the cooking classes you offer, and what someone would learn in them. Thank you Angela. My philosophy is as follows:
-> Promote healthy relationships with food, healthy respect for food and an appreciation for sustainable agriculture and seasonality which help to exercise more restraint.
-> My goal is to educate, inspire, build confidence and help make the kitchen a more user-friendly place while having fun!
All of the nutrition services are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! No membership required to experience nutrition at Cooper! Currently, I offer:- Private Nutrition Consultations to help people achieve long-term nutrition goals.
- Monthly themed culinary demos at the state-of-the-art demo kitchen offer unique and memorable education experience. Themes vary every month based on health related such as "Heart month" or Chinese new year or Kentucky Derby, Mardi Gras etc. During these informative classes, you observe the preparation of the food, taste samples and interact with group for a lively discussion.
- Culinary Tem Building Events, a unique and effective way to build team spirit, break down office stereotypes where clients chop, dice and sauté their way to better communication, sales and management skills.
To find out more about the services that Cindy Kleckner, RD, LD offers, contact the Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch at 214-383-1000.