Eating healthy can be affordable and delicious, and beginning Nov. 1, families in the El Dorado Springs area will have the opportunity to learn how to stretch their food dollar with easy nutritious meals through the “Cooking Matters for Families” program being offered once a week for six weeks. Classes will be held at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall at 300 South Main from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Program dates are Nov. 10, 15, 22, 29 and Dec. 6 and 13. Participants must preregister; child care is provided if requested. Call Parents As Teachers at 417-876-4177 or 417-876-8978 to sign up.

The course, taught by Mary Sebade, University of Missouri Nutrition and Health Education Specialist,  covers at-home meal preparation, smart grocery shopping, food budgeting and practical nutrition information.  Adult and teen participants take home a bag of groceries at the end of each class, so they can practice the recipes taught that day.

Cooking Matters is a national program which has grown to serve more than 23,000 families in 700 locations annually. As part of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, it empowers each person who attends the course to stretch their food budget and cook healthy meals. “Knowing how to shop on a budget and cook healthfully is the key to making sure that all kids get the healthy food they need every day,” said Janet McLaughlin, Senior Director, Cooking Matters.

More than 80 percent of adult Cooking Matters graduates say they learned to use key food budgeting strategies, such as planning meals ahead of time, comparing prices at the store, or shopping with a list.  As graduate Lareese Cathey, a mother receiving Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits, says, “Since the class, I can triple the value of my WIC check and feel good about what I’m feeding my kids.”

This program series is being sponsored by Parents As Teachers, University of Missouri Extension, and the Children’s Trust Fund. Cooking Matters is nationally sponsored by the ConAgra Foods® Foundation and Walmart. To volunteer, download recipes or learn more, visit