All Girls Can Cook

Gabrielle Welch at Whole Foods with Sarah Elliott, Maribelle Gordon, Ellie Farmer, Riya Patel and Annalisa Tomicic.

By Jennifer Elliott –

Imagine you are helping your younger child with homework or casually folding laundry while a wonderful aroma escapes from your kitchen. Take things a bit further and imagine it is your middle school daughter cooking up a delicious and nutritious dinner.

Gabrielle Welch believes this should not be just a fantasy you have, but a frequent reality in your home. Creator of the “All Girls Can Cook” program, Welch teaches girls to plan meals, shop for groceries and safely cook a fabulous dinner. In addition, Welch talks to the girls about the kind of food they choose to put in their bodies. “We discuss the importance of buying organic and eating seasonally when possible and how food affects your health, skin and performance in the classroom and on the playing field,” comments Welch.

My seventh grader, Sarah, attended one of Welch’s classes this summer. The group took a field trip to Whole Foods and talked about reading labels for the ingredients. They also stocked up on tons of organic fruits and vegetables.

Welch showed the girls how to juice. Each recipe included some ginger, which Welch says, “is a natural antibiotic and antiviral food.” My daughter loved the juice, even drank the green one with kale, and is now begging me for a juicer.

This group of five girls also made vegetarian dumplings for us to eat for lunch. They had fun folding the wonton dough and truly ate the dumplings as fast as they could scoop them out of the pan. The group setting provides a little positive peer pressure to try new things. Sarah would not normally eat onions, mushrooms, cabbage or quinoa, but once she tried it, she loved it.

In addition to classes, Welch also meets with moms to help them put their family on a path to healthier eating. She is a nutritional consultant with a MBA from Baylor University and is the author of The Pizza Trap. Her book discusses how to get your kids off of junk food and also has valuable information about genetically modified food, what to buy organic, and the dangers of the “kid’s menu.”

With three daughters of her own, Welch has a personal interest in educating parents and kids about healthy living. “The more we know about food, the more we can take care of ourselves.  Knowledge is power.”

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