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Cooking with Kids

Feb 02, 2018

When kids help make healthy foods, they are excited to try them!

Cooking with Kids teaches public school children about the joys of healthy cooking and eating and where their food comes from.

boys stirring food in a skillet

A mother recently wrote:

“My boys are twins and I have tried to instill healthy eating habits at home. It has been a struggle. I am so excited because this program has somehow broken down the walls I have been struggling with my children since toddlerhood. I believe, solely, because of this outstanding program, the course of our whole family’s nutrition and health has been changed. I am forever grateful!”

children learning about food

Cooking with Kids (CWK) is a non-profit organization that started in 1995 as an all-volunteer effort in two schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With the help of SNAP-Ed funding and support, CWK has grown to serve over 6,000 elementary school children and their families in 13 schools each year. CWK in a nutshell:

  • Hands-on nutrition education classes as part of children’s regular school days. Classes range from ten-minute fruit and vegetable tastings to two-hour cooking classes. This month, kids are making “watermelon pizzas” with locally grown melons!
  • CWK’s bilingual curriculum features recipes from around the world and student activities aligned with Common Core State Standards and National Health Education Standards. The CWK Curriculum is research- and practice-based, and has been positively reviewed in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. It is included in the SNAP-Ed Toolkit.
  • over 1,500 family member volunteers, local chefs and farmers, and public school teachers pitch in each year.
  • New focus on school lunchrooms brings chefs and farmers into cafeterias to help with fruit and vegetable promotions, “Farmers’ Market Days”, “Taste a Rainbow” salad sampling days, and a variety of fun activities for kids, teachers and cafeteria staff.
  • Food service staff trainings and technical assistance go hand-in-hand with system and policy work that supports the purchase of locally sourced produce, increased from-scratch cooking, and community engagement in school lunchrooms. This work is accomplished through partnerships with school districts, state agencies, and state SNAP-Ed partners.
a girl rolling dough with her hands
a girl squeezing an orange


Stories from kids, parents and teachers show CWK is making a difference:
“I learned how to cut a zucchini and this makes me happy because I never knew how to cut a zucchini!”
—3rd grade student

“Cooking with Kids is my all-time favorite public school program. I have fun cooking with my children’s classes and my kids have tried and liked foods they would never try at home. My kids have also asked to help at home to make many of the recipes we have gotten from this program.”
—CWK parent

“Cooking with Kids speaks to the way that young children learn and remember their learning. It is hands on and actually becomes a part of each student in a way that is inescapable. They actually eat their learning! One of the best parts of school.”
—2nd grade teacher

girls laughing at a table with a teacher

SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework Indicators:

  • ST1: Organizational Partnerships
  • ST8: Multi-Sector Partnerships and Planning
  • MT1: Healthy Eating
  • MT5: Nutrition Supports
  • MT8: Agriculture
  • LT9: Leveraged Resources
colorful produce


This article was submitted by Cooking with Kids, a SNAP-Ed Agency. For more information, contact Anna Farrier at 505-438-0098.