Editorial: Cooking for Wellness classes offer chance to improve eating habits

How many people made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, get healthier, eat better or some combination of these? Whether or not you’ve kept up with it three weeks into 2019 or, even if you didn’t resolve to do these things, Carroll Hospital is offering an opportunity to learn more about cooking healthy meals for yourself and your family.

The Cooking for Wellness classes invites residents to join the hospital’s registered dietitian to learn how to make a simple and healthy meal. Hospital staff plan the recipe and purchase the ingredients, while participants prep the food and do the cooking. There is a nominal cost for the class, typically ranging around $20, depending on the cost of the ingredients.


“One of the things I found working with people in the community is that people fall into two groups: either those people who know what they should be eating but really struggle to try and find a way to get those things on the table, especially with their busy lifestyles; and people who really are not familiar with where to start when it comes to defining what eating healthy means,” said Barb Walsh, a community nutrition educator with the hospital’s Tevis Center for Wellness.

The class is perfect for anyone who falls into those groups, or just for someone looking to learn a new recipe and meet new people, or take the class with friends or family.

The importance of good nutrition cannot be overstated. And while it works best in combination with exercise and physical activity, changing your eating habits alone can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of diseases like cancer and heart problems. Even for individuals who maintain a healthy weight, a poor diet can be associated with very serious health risks like diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and heart disease.

Making even little changes to your diet can have big, positive effects on your overall health.

One of the simplest things you can do is eat more home-cooked meals made with fresh ingredients instead of dining out, ordering take-out, or eating prepackaged or boxed foods. Many of these kinds of foods are much higher in sodium, fat, added sugars and additives. Often, these are added to help preserve shelf-life or to improve the flavor, but lower the nutritional quality.

These types of foods are OK from time to time, but it is when they become routine that they have a negative impact on your health.

Cooking for Wellness classes seek to help people develop some basic skills to cook healthy meals for themselves and their families in their own kitchens, and to do so in about 30 minutes to an hour.

The next class is on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Shauck Auditorium in the East Pavilion at Carroll Hospital in Westminster. The class will be making Greek chicken souvlaki with homemade tzatziki. The cost is $18. Walsh will be doing a Heart-Healthy Recipe Cooking Demonstration in February, but is back with another Cooking for Wellness class March 18, where the group will make a honey ginger chicken stir fry. The cost for that class is $20.

Registration is required. Call Care Connect at 410-871-7000 to reserve a space or to ask questions about the program. For more information, the recipe and cost of the next class, visit