Pratt and Barton County Research and Extension services combine to help families discover new and healthy recipes to make at home.

A program with the purpose of teaching quick and nutrition food options for families has quietly been underway in Pratt for several months, expanding the menu but not the pocketbooks of those participating. Pratt and Barton County nutrition educator Walinda Arnett has been meeting each month with those interested in a free family cooking class provided by the SNAP-Ed Nutrition program and facilitated through K-State Research and Extension.
"Since both of our counties (Pratt and Barton) are short an agent, we've utilized the help of Walinda to lead some nutritional classes for families in both places," said Barton County Extension Agent Robin Eubank-Callis. "We do need people interested in her program to call and enroll, or leave a message, if they want to participate in the family cooking classes."
In addition to trying new and simple food recipes at each class, with participants acting as primary taste-testers, the cooking class covers shopping techniques, packing lunches, making healthy snacks as well as standard cooking preparation.
"We even have a grocery store tour coming up," Eubank-Callis said. "When you look at a grocery store as more like a food museum there is so much to learn. It should be a lot of fun."
So far those participating in the cooking lessons have responded positively to the messages of finding good food economically.
"Since kids involved get to taste the recipes they make in the class, the families are reporting that they are a lot more willing to try new and healthier foods at home," Eubank-Callis said. "It's been an exciting experience for them."
The next meeting in Pratt, 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, February 26 will feature an easy skillet recipe for chili, as well as a free, one-month's worth of planned recipes, complete with shopping lists to get the needed ingredients to make the planned foods.
"If people want to attend, we have a few slots still open," Eubank-Callis said. "It is not just for those who get SNAP, but for anyone who wants to learn how to feed their family good, healthy meals."
Classes are kept small so that everyone enrolled gets a hands-on experience in recipe preparation.
To register to participate or find out more information, please call Arnett at 620-886-3971.