ACCAP Adds Virtual Cooking to the Head Start Mix


The Anoka/Washington County Head Start-Early Head Start program serves families living in a mixture of rural, suburban, and urban areas of the Twin Cities greater metropolitan area. The program has offered enrolled families the opportunity to participate in virtual cooking classes for the past three years.

This activity started when the program secured funding to pilot a cooking curriculum during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the guidance of an employee with previous experience instructing cooking classes, the program continued to offer virtual cooking classes for families, even after the pilot concluded.

Each family received a kitchen essentials kit with the basic kitchen items needed to prepare the recipes highlighted in class.

Head Start staff arranged for groceries to be delivered directly to each participating family’s home. Providing kitchen essentials and the groceries needed to prepare each recipe allowed for the program to provide an educational family focused class while adhering to health guidance during the height of the pandemic. Virtual classes also allowed families to participate who normally may not participate in program activities due to lack of transportation or childcare.

A variety of recipes were featured over the past three years including homemade hummus, veggie pizza pita pockets, and an egg and cheese bake. Each week, a different topic was presented along with the recipe. Topics discussed were whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy snacking, and mealtime madness.

The highlight of the class was seeing the joy in the faces of the children participating appear on the computer screen as they worked together with their parent/guardian to prepare the weekly recipe. The program has received positive feedback from participants.

The program plans to offer in-person events this program year for families to learn about a specific topic and prepare a recipe.

Learn more about the agency's committment to early childhood education and how to become involved at ACCAP Head Start or contact Jacqueline Cross at 763-783-4308 or about participating in The Family Plate Cooking Classes.