When it comes to teaching families about making the right decision about food, the nonprofit group CHOICES (The Center Helping Obesity In Children End Successfully continues to serve the community. Each grant cycle, families in the metro Atlanta area sign up to learn about nutrition, diet and cooking under the leadership of executive chef Ashley Keyes.
As part of the program, families are given practical lessons that include shopping at local markets and preparing meals for under $10 as well as cooking at the CHOICES catering kitchen located at the Oak Hill Community Center located in Atlanta. When rolling out visited CHOICES. it was pizza and graduation night for the program. The room was packed with parents and kids eager to make their personal pizza as the final project.
Spread out before participants were fresh ingredients that included a wide assortment of fresh vegetables, caramelized onions, feta, fresh mozzarella and assorted meats. But first, the class went through what they learned over the weeks and how they have made good choices since starting the class. The program coordinator Maia reviewed knife safety as chef Ashley told the group they had eight minutes to cut their vegetables and grate cheese for the pizzas.
It was a delight to see kids and parents carefully dicing and chopping green peppers, mushrooms and onions as the ingredients piled up in a heaping bowl of freshness. Then each person grabbed a donated pizza crust from a local business, coated with basil, garlic and olive oil that the class had made previously made and began to create their masterpieces. At least three vegetables were required for their pizza, so healthy choices were made with spinach, bell peppers and other veggies.
In the end, the pizzas looked as good as any you might get in a restaurant or delivery. The next round of classes for C.H.O.I.C.E.S. will begin in late March and will include a visit to a Black-owned farm in Hampton, Georgia.
Everyone who graduated that night wanted to return for more classes, but at this time there is almost a year wait to attend additional classes with CHOICES. At the end of the night, CHOICES continued its regular practice of giving food to families in Atlanta, as each family received donated chickens and food.
If you live in metro Atlanta and want to find out more about CHOICES and future classes visit: The Center Helping Obesity In Children End Successfully.
To learn more about chef Ashley follow her at:
Keyes In the Kitchen or on Facebook @KeyesintheKitchen