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The Wellness Kitchen teaches children healthy cooking 

Wellness Kitchen Templeton Children
Children’s cooking class students chop a radish with help from volunteers at The Wellness Kitchen. Photo by Heather Young

Classes encourage kids to, ‘Eat a Rainbow’

–Twice a month on Friday afternoons, children as young as 6-years-old take to the kitchen in The Wellness Kitchen in Templeton to learn about a nutrition as they make delicious –and healthy– meals and snacks.

The children learn how to use sharp knives safely as well as the nutritional benefits of eating of rainbow and other healthy food. On a recent Friday, the cooking students assembled a winter season quinoa confetti salad for the lesson about colors of the rainbow and the importance of eating a rainbow of different colors of food. Each student cut a portion of each fruit or vegetable that went into it: yellow beets, radishes, fennel, carrots, tomatoes, pomegranates and more.

Atascadero resident Amalia Young, 6, cuts a radish during the children's cooking class on Friday. Photo by Heather Young

Atascadero resident Amalia Young, 6, cuts a radish during the children’s cooking class on Friday. Photo by Heather Young

The Wellness Kitchen volunteer Donna Pennington cooked the quinoa and took the dry and cooked quinoa around for the children to see what it looked like.

Volunteer Terri Knowlton of Paso Robles has been teaching the children’s cooking classes since the summer. She started by teaching the class at the Boys and Girls Club and then started consistently offering the class at The Wellness Kitchen in August.

“It was fun,” Atascadero resident Katie Coombs, 9, said. “I like the cutting, the beets, the tomatoes, the carrots.”

Coombs has taken the class for months, Knowlton said that she has probably gone through every module. Coombs, however, said she enjoys it and will continue to take the classes, even the ones she has done already.

Six-year-old Amalia Young of Atascadero said she was excited to use sharp knives, though she was nervous at first. She said she’s looking forward to future classes, especially the ones on making breakfast and desserts.

The Wellness Kitchen founder Nancy Walker has offered children’s classes for years now, though she said Knowlton has really taken it up a notch offering it every second and fourth Friday of the month.

The Wellness Kitchen volunteer Terri Knowlton teaches cooking classes for children twice a month at the nonprofit's Templeton location. Photo by Heather Young

The Wellness Kitchen volunteer Terri Knowlton teaches cooking classes for children twice a month at the nonprofit’s Templeton location. Photo by Heather Young

The popularity of the class has allowed for volunteer Yssenia Echevarria to branch out and offer cooking classes for children in Spanish. Echevarria also teaches adult cooking classes in Spanish on a regular basis. The Spanish language children’s cooking classes aren’t regular, yet, Walker said.

The next children’s cooking class will be held on Friday, Feb. 12 about Bountiful Breakfast, where the discussion will be centered around eating a balance breakfast. The students will prepare granola and make almond milk. On Feb. 26, the students will make energy snack balls in the class Awesome Snacks. The discussion will be centered on reading label ingredients to make healthy snack choices. On March 11, the class will be on Delectable Desserts.

To register for classes, go to The Wellness Kitchen’s website or call 805-434-1800. A suggested donation of $15 is asked for each child.

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