Wallaville State School students are among many locals taking healthy cooking classes delivered by the Gin Gin branch of the Queensland Country Women’s Association.
Rose Aston has been a member of the Gin Gin CWA branch for about three years and is central regional facilitator of the Country Kitchens program.
The CWA initiative aims to support people living in regional, rural and remote Queensland to improve their health by adopting healthy eating practices.
Nutritionists and dietitians are employed at a state level to set the program which is coordinated by volunteers in each region.
Rose, along with the health promotional team leader, coordinates Country Kitchens in the large Central Queensland area stretching as far north as Rockhampton, south to Nambour and out to Longreach.
Students enjoy healthy cooking
She said in Gin Gin the group had delivered many highly successful workshops and cooking classes focused on healthy eating with local children and adults.
“In 2018 we partnered with Wallaville State School,” Rose said.
“We had 10 students participate in a back-to-basics cooking class.”
The cooking classes have had a positive response from both students and the school with youngsters already keen for their next session.
“We’re addressing issues of kids coming to school with no breakfast and soft drink in their bags. It’s not just here, it’s everywhere,” Rose said.
“Following the first session we had one child come to us and say he wanted to be a chef.
“One of the girls said she just had the best day.
“The important thing is it’s not just about cooking. What we’re teaching the kids are important life skills they will take with them.”
Students aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program, with free public workshops held for residents. A recent session at the Gin Gin Library saw participants create spicy apple trail mix and bees wax wraps.
Balance the key to healthy eating
Rose said while the focus was on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, it didn’t stop them from sneaking in a famous CWA scone or two.
“Healthy eating is actually about having a variety of foods including your traditional favourites.”
In sharing the recipe for Country Kitchens’ sticky date and pear muffins, she said healthy food didn’t have to be boring.
“It’s a very popular recipe. It has no added sugar.
“We also make a fruit cake with pumpkin that’s gluten free.”
Rose, along with other local QCWA members, is also organising workshops in Longreach through the long distance school of education in June.