Making Bread, Making Memories, All at Coconut PointExercise and Nutrition
I find it hard to make time to cook healthy meals while managing so much – school, work, interests, friends and family obligations, and I’m sure I am not the only one.
We might find ourselves relying on snacks or searching for the nearest fast food when we are out and about or in a time crunch. Over time, these habits can be hard to break and can lead to health problems down the road. After all, who has time to cook anymore?
But did you know the Healthy Life Center (HLC) at Lee Health Coconut Point holds monthly cooking classes that teach you how to make healthy foods? These classes are FREE to anyone in the community! You can learn how to make a variety of different foods such as bread, salads, beans, cultural cuisines, and more.
Cooking is much easier than you may think and can be lots of fun, too. It can also serve as a great activity to do with friends, kids, or the grandkids.
Going to Class: A First-Timer's Tale
As an intern working at Lee Health, I decided to visit the HLC at Lee Health Coconut Point to see what one of their classes looked like. I also brought my sister along to get her perspective as someone who isn’t as familiar with Lee Health.
We looked at the class schedule and chose “Cooking with Kat: Bread Making.” This class was taught by Kat, a dietitian at the HLC, and Roberto, a bread expert from Italy.
In all honesty, my sister and I chose this class because we love bread. I mean, who doesn’t? Bread is a delicious comfort food, and everyone deserves a little comfort in their life!
When you enter Lee Health Coconut Point, the HLC is all the way to the right side of the building. It has unique light features and is extremely bright and inviting. All the people we encountered were friendly and instantly made us feel comfortable and excited to be there.
We were unsure what the classroom atmosphere would be like, but we were immediately hit with the aroma of savory bread, and our worries melted away. As I looked around, the classroom was full of eager members of the community, all of whom had notebooks ready to jot details down.
My sister and I took the only seats open toward the back. However, this wasn’t a problem, as the room has three large television-like screens that broadcast an up-close view of the cooking process. We couldn’t wait to see bread made from scratch.
We got to watch how professionals make bread but even better, we got to hear every detail of the process. One of the perks of being there in person was that we were free to ask all the questions we wanted. Kat and Roberto showed us how easy baking bread can be with a little practice.
Many people in the class were asking if they needed special appliances to knead the bread. Roberto reassured us that kneading by hand works just as well and is actually more fun but can be a bit time-consuming.
But Roberto said: “Cooking is like love—it takes a lot of time and care.”
We really enjoyed the up-close experience and seeing every aspect of the baking process. We got to watch Roberto knead the dough and turn it into two separate bread items: sandwich bread and dinner rolls. Kat and Roberto offered suggestions for replacement ingredients for those with health concerns or allergies.
The class also provides recipes and instructional guides to take home, so I was able to take everything I learned and apply it to my own kitchen.
The Long-Term Health Goal
I think this opportunity not only taught me how to make homemade bread but also made me realize that there are healthier alternatives to many foods I eat.
As a young adult, it is easy to fall into unhealthy habits because of my busy schedule. When trying to balance all aspects of my life, it is simple for me to grab something unhealthy.
Kat’s cooking classes help highlight how many quick, easy, and healthy foods you can make. You can learn how to make fresh summer salad, an unfamiliar culture’s cuisine, charcuterie boards and appetizers, or even meals incorporating an ingredient you don’t typically use.
Whether you attend a class or attempt to follow an online recipe, there are many ways to learn how to incorporate better eating into your diet.
Healthier eating doesn’t always have to involve lengthier preparation or making something from scratch, either. One of the misconceptions about these kinds of classes and cooking, in general, is that it is too hard and too expensive or takes up too much time. Contrary to what you may think, many healthy recipes are quick and easy if you have the right ingredients.
Other HLC Classes
Cooking not your thing? Not to worry—there are plenty of other classes at the HLC: Fitness, health education, medical information, trends, meditation and yoga, and more. These classes can benefit anyone in our local community, so I urge you to sign up for one today.
There are calendars posted every month that include all of the events happening. To learn more about what the Healthy Life Center has to offer, cick here.
Kylie Burch, 20, is a student intern in Lee Health’s Marketing & Brand Management department. She currently attends Florida Gulf Coast University, where she studies communication and public relations with a minor in marketing.