Lantern’s new, evidence-informed “Food 4 Life” nutrition program launched last Wednesday evening, with a cooking class for young adults in Harlem. For last night’s second class, the group took a trip to the local supermarket.
Like most young adults exiting foster care into independent living, the young people we serve undergo an abrupt and challenging transition when they come to Lantern following foster care. They often have a limited ability to cook, shop for food and budget, and living on very low incomes means that they often rely on highly-processed, nutritionally deficient food.
To address these challenges, we set out to find a tested food program that applied the existing research on young adults’ brain and social development and learning styles. When we couldn’t find one, we decided to create it ourselves. The resulting Food 4 Life program, now being piloted, is a ten-class series that provides an overview of basic cooking skills, meal preparation and food shopping, with topics such as Healthy Cooking 101, Smart Shopping,and Plant-based Proteins. Food 4 Life aims to appeal to our young adults by reinforcing the pleasures of food and cooking; imparting a solid understanding of local food resources and how to stretch food budgets; offering opportunities to learn valuable self-advocacy skills and impact local food environments; and embracing healthy and satisfying eating habits that can last a lifetime.
The early evening classes take place in our community kitchen at Prospero Hall in Harlem, and finish up each week with a communally prepared meal.
Read more about Lantern’s Nutrition & Culinary Arts program.