Cooking Matters

“It gave me clarity on nutrition facts, how to shop and keep from running out of food before the next shopping date.”

—Cooking Matters for Adults graduate, Little Rock, AR

View Cooking Matters video here.

Arkansas Flavor, a special publication of Arkansas Times, features recipes from the Cooking Matters curriculum.

Skills Families Need to Eat Better for Less

Cooking Matters, an innovative nutrition education program offering 6-week Signature Courses, teaches individuals and families the skills they need to cook healthy meals and get the most from their food budgets. The Cooking Matters classes are hands-on, full participation classes taught by volunteer chefs and nutrition experts from communities large and small. Participants learn how to select nutritious, low-cost ingredients and how to turn those ingredients into delicious meals for their families. Graduates of Cooking Matters Signature Courses don’t just leave with cooking skills; they leave with the confidence and pride in knowing they can make a difference in the health and happiness of their families.Cooking Matters Signature Courses are designed as six weekly, two-hour lessons and can be taught in any facility that has a kitchen or an area that can be outfitted with hot plates. Many Cooking Matters courses are taught in church kitchens, community centers, food banks, food pantries, restaurants and schools.

Different Curriculums for Different Needs

There are different versions of Cooking Matters to meet the needs of different groups and many are available in Spanish* as well as English:

  • Cooking Matters for Adults* teaches adults with low-incomes about healthy meal preparation and sensible shopping on a limited budget. Ninety percent of Cooking Matters for Adults graduates said they ate more fruits, vegetables or whole grains after the course than they did before. This program also has extra components to help participants who have children ages five and under, who are at risk for or have diabetes, as well as those who are dealing with HIV/AIDS.
  • Cooking Matters for Kids teaches children in 3rd through 5th grades how to prepare healthy meals and snacks and to make smart choices whether they are at school or at home, at the store or out to eat. Forty percent improved their confidence in making something to eat with fruits and vegetables all by themselves.
  • Cooking Matters for Families* brings school-aged children and their families together to learn about healthy eating, planning meals as a family and working together in the kitchen. Eighty-nine percent of families reported cooking together at home when they finished their classes.
  • Cooking Matters for Teens teaches kids in the 6th grade and up how to make healthy food choices and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Eighty-one percent of graduates reported an improvement in the cooking skills.
  • Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals teaches those who care for children about healthy meal preparation and creating a healthy, safe food environment for the kids in their care. Of the providers who completed the first round of pilot trainings, 92 percent reported improved cooking skills and 72 percent felt more confident about having kids help prepare meals.
Find a Cooking Matters Program in Your Area:
Be A Cooking Matters Partner

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is the lead partner for Cooking Matters in Arkansas. For information about how to start Cooking Matters classes in your community, contact Rachel Townsend, Cooking Matters Director, at or call 501-399-9999.

Helpful links:

Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters