In partnership with Ochsner Health System, the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF), through two Jefferson Parish ProStart schools—Bonnabel Magnet Academy and Grace King High School—are participating in the Cooking-up Healthy Optionsand Portions (CHOP) program. CHOP is an after-school cooking program designed to teach middle school students to prepare healthy meals and feel more confident in the kitchen.
"ProStart students meet with middle schoolers for 90-minutes each week and conduct demonstrations designed to explore healthy substitutions and teach them how to prepare meals for themselves and their families," said Alice Glenn, LRAEF Executive Director. "The younger students have the opportunity to learn from our ProStart students knife skills and safety, food safety, proper measuring and calculations, meal planning, boiling, simmering, sautéing and baking."
Ochsner’s Community Outreach staff has revised and created recipes that show students they can still eat their favorite foods and be healthy at the same time, just by making a few small changes. CHOP acts as a compliment to the LSU AgCenter’s Smart Choices nutrition program and is offered to students who have already participated in that program. The program’s goal is to enable students to translate the information they learn into tangible skills that can make healthy eating a habit.
“ProStart students serve as skilled mentors for these younger students,” said Glenn. “It is our hope that our ProStart students will inspire them to take an interest not only in eating healthy, but in the restaurant industry as a career option in the future.”