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Overview

Cooking with Kids BIG little Project is a school-based food nutrition education curriculum program designed to educate and empower children and families to make healthy food choices through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultural traditions. The program uses three nutrition education and obesity prevention approaches: direct education, multi-level interventions at multiple complementary organizational and institutional levels, and community and public health approaches to improve nutrition. Cooking with Kids BIG little Project includes integrated curriculum guides (bilingual and grade-specific) with cooking and tasting lessons, how-to-videos, recipes, and other resources. Cooking with Kids, Inc. provides nutrition education in SNAP-Ed qualifying public schools and supports community and public health approaches, including the development of teaching kitchens in schools and the support of Farm to School and Child Nutrition Program staff training. 

Intervention Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

SNAP-Ed Strategies: Direct Education, PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Cooking with Kids, Inc. targets elementary school-aged children and their families at SNAP-Ed qualifying public schools. While the intervention is primarily located in two counties (Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties), it has been implemented in numerous counties throughout New Mexico. Numerous teaching kitchens have been created in new and renovated public schools. Founded in 1995, Cooking with Kids has nurtured generations of children and families. The direct education component currently reaches 6,000 students and over 1,000 family member volunteers at 26 schools in Northern New Mexico. 

Settings: Community-wide, Schools, Gardens (School/Community), Faith-based Centers

Age/Population Group: Elementary School, Adults

Race: All

Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Cooking with Kids BIG little Project includes a school-based nutrition education curriculum as well as policy, systems, and environmental supports to healthy eating in schools, including gardening and Farm to School programming. These intervention components include direct education curriculum for elementary school children, recipes, and how-to videos available on the Cooking with Kids BIG little Project website. 

Intervention Materials

Cooking and tasting lessons are available for grades K-1, 2-3, or 4-5. Lessons are aligned with academic and health education standards and include: 

Step-by-step instructions and time estimates 

Kid-friendly classroom recipes in English and Spanish 

English and Spanish student materials (includes food and nutrition information) 

Suggestions for enrichment activities 

English and Spanish take-home recipes for families 

Intervention Costs

Cooking with Kids, Inc. offers affordable pay-per-download cooking lessons ($5 per lesson) and a wide variety of free resources including fruit and vegetable tasting lessons, cafeteria interventions, videos and enrichment activities.

Evidence Summary

The following articles provide information around the adoption, implementation, and impact of the Cooking with Kids, Inc. program:

  • Hersch, D., Perdue, L., Ambroz, T., Boucher, J.L. (2014). The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food-Related Preferences, Attitudes, and Behaviors of School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review of the Evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2014;11:140267. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.140267 https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/14_0267.htm
  • Cunningham-Sabo, L. & Lohse, B. (2013). Cooking with Kids Positively Affects Fourth Graders' Vegetable Preferences and Attitudes and Self-Efficacy for Food and Cooking. Childhood Obesity, 9(6), 549-556. https://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/chi.2013.0076
  • Cunningham-Sabo, L. et al. (2013). Impact of a School-Based Cooking Curriculum for Fourth-Grade Students on Attitudes and Behaviors Is Influenced by Gender and Prior Cooking Experience. (2013). Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46 (2), 110-120. https://www.jneb.org/article/S1499-4046(13)00631-3/abstract
  • Diker, A., Cunningham-Sabo, L., Bachman, K., Stacey, J. E., Walters, L. M., & Wells, L. (2013). Nutrition educator adoption and implementation of an experiential foods curriculum. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 45(6) 499-509. https://www.jneb.org/article/S1499-4046(13)00542-3/abstract
  • Diker, A., Walters, L. M., Cunningham-Sabo, L., & Baker, S. S. (2011). Factors Influencing Adoption and Implementation of Cooking with Kids, An Experiential School-Based Nutrition Education Curriculum. Journal of Extension [Online], 49(1) Article 1FEA6. Available at: https://archives.joe.org/joe/2011february/a6.php

Evidence Base: Research-tested, Practice-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

  Readiness and Capacity - Short Term (ST) Changes - Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance - Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2, ST4 MT1, MT2    
Environmental Settings ST5, ST6, ST7 MT5 LT5, LT8
Sectors of Influence ST8 MT7,MT8, MT9,  
Evaluation Materials

The University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (PRC) is developing and implementing statewide evaluation tools.

Success Story
Additional Information

Website: The Cooking with Kids BIG little Project website (biglittleproject.org) includes resource information for families and educators, online recipes in English and Spanish, videos, and other resources. To learn more about Cooking with Kids, Inc. visit cookingwithkids.org.

Contact Persons:

Anna Farrier (Executive Director)

Rachel Shreve (Communications Director)

Cooking with Kids, Inc.

PO Box 6113 Santa Fe, NM 87502-6113

Email: contactus@cookingwithkids.org

Phone: (505) 438-0098  

 

*Updated as of September 5, 2023