Cooking Workshop Sets Out To Prove Healthy Eating Is Relatable And Affordable

Sep 23, 2019

Teenagers learn how to make tacos out of ground turkey instead of beef and roast red peppers on the stove top, without adding oil.
Credit Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

A family of four struggling with poverty is 60% more likely to have two or more diseases. In an effort to combat the effects of poverty on health, The Good Life Youth Foundation partnered with a personal chef to teach low income families how to affordably eat healthy.  The workshops they designed aim to be culturally-relevant, in addition to budget friendly, in hopes of instilling real lifestyle changes.

Chef Keonna Yearwood knew she wanted to be a chef at a young age, following in the footsteps of her father and grandmothers. But when both of her grandmothers passed away due to complications with diabetes, she wanted to make nutrition the centerpiece of her cooking.

Good Life Youth Foundation Executive Director Hasan Stephens says Yearwood is exactly the type of person he hopes their programs create.

“Keonna is a person that reflects the lifestyle of the children that we work with,” said Stephens. “She came from an impoverished background. She came from a challenged lifestyle, and then found this love [of cooking].”

As Yearwood attended other classes on teaching low income families how to eat healthy, she noticed what they were teaching often wasn’t familiar or realistic for these families.

“A lot of the families, a lot of the products they would be using, they didn’t know how to use them,” said Yearwood. “So you give a family a whole bunch of boxes like we’re doing today, they don’t know what to do with them. So they’re going to cook it how they know how to cook it. They’re going to cook it with the fat. They’re going to cook it with all the salt. So I made this workshop to meet families specifically where they’re at.”

Stephen says he hopes another series of four workshops will be organized soon, so more families can learn that nutritious food is for everyone one. More information can be found on their website: