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Title:Cooking with Kids Integrated Curriculum
Pub. date: 2008
Edition: 2nd
Includes: Three curriculum guides available, Grades K-1, Grades 2-3 & Grades 4-6
Audience: Multiple Audiences, Children, Elementary children, Hispanic
Language: English and Spanish
Description:The Cooking with Kids integrated curriculum guides and student handbooks provide hands-on cooking and tasting lessons with fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultures. Curricula are available in English and Spanish for grades K-1, 2-3, & 4-6. Each guide includes teacher information and introductory lesson plan, lesson plans for five 1-hour tasting classes (tomatoes, root vegetables, citrus fruits, pears and salad greens), lesson plans for five 2-hour cooking classes and a student food journal specific to that grade.
Funding Source: USDA Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program through the New Mexico Human Services Department through New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service among others
Developer: Lynn Walters and Jane Stacey
Phone: 505-438-0098
Length: varies
Pilot Testing: Four primary evaluation questions were developed:
  • What does Cooking With Kids (CWK) accomplish?
  • To what extent is CWK evidence-based?
  • How is it best to disseminate CWK? and
  • What is needed for CWK to become sustainable?
A program logic model was developed identifying inputs, activities, and potential short-, intermediate-, and long-term outcomes of CWK, and guided evaluation efforts. Two main activities were accomplished: 1) development and testing of assessment instruments with students, and 2) interviews with teachers, parents, and others (throughout the country) who have used the curriculum.

Impact. The scales developed for measuring food preferences, food neophobia, and cooking attitudes and self-efficacy were feasible to implement and merit further refinement and testing. Individual and group interview findings and recommendations provide guidance for continued program improvement and dissemination to other sites. Products developed during the course of this project include the following: 1) an instrument that assesses 3 subscales (constructs); 2) interview guides for focus groups with teachers and parents and individual interviews with others using the CWK curriculum; 3) CWK program logic model; and 4) abstracts and presentations based on preliminary results.

For further information, contact Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, PhD, RD Research Assistant Professor Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center MSC11 6145 Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001 ph 505.272.4462 fax 505.272.4857

Additionally, A four-year USDA NRI (2006-2010) conducted by Colorado State University (grand #2007-05062) evaluated the CWK Program impact. Results include: 1) Fruit and vegetable preferences improved significantly more among students receiving CWK lessons compared with students in schools without CWK. Gains in preferences were especially strong for boys who initially reported little prior cooking experience, and 2) Cooking self-efficacy increased most in students who initially reported little cooking experience prior to CWK lessons.

Use Restrictions: Permission needed to copy.
Reviewers Comments: Cooking with Kids is an integrated curriculum that not only teaches cooking skills, but also educates children on reading, writing, history, literacy, wellness, math, science, and social studies. Lessons are well written with clear, simple steps for introducing and cooking new foods. They are skillfully structured, including important detail but leaving room for personal modifications and adaptations. The curriculum would work best in a classroom setting, or as a part of an after school or summer program for children. Each recipe lesson has three separate classroom recipes that can be combined for a complete meal, so the students can work in small groups and then come together for the final product. This design means that the lessons would work best when working in a class of at least six students, so you can have three teams of two students each working on the individual recipe components. The lessons can still be used if there are fewer than six students by leaving out one of the recipe components. Except for the amount of food available for the tastings and recipes, there is no limit to the number of students in the classroom. It would be difficult to conduct the cooking lessons alone, and the teacher’s guidebook encourages parent and volunteer involvement.

Included in each of the lesson plans are activities, learning objectives, a supply list, enrichment options, snack suggestions and music and book recommendations. There is also a shopping list for ingredients and a list of equipment needed. While most of the ingredients are common items, some recipes have many ingredients and a few can be harder to find and/or expensive (for the ethnic recipes). The equipment lists are also a little long but include relatively common items. Many of the recipes can be conducted without all of the ingredients or equipment and just a few minor substitutions. While the classes do mention nutritional concerns, there is no nutritional information included in the recipes. Ingredients like milk and cheese can be substituted with skim or 2% milk and low-fat cheese. The recipes are multicultural and include food and accompanying lessons from different parts of the globe. Some students may need additional education or discussion about the foods presented to them, before they will be willing to try them. Kids are likely to want to try foods more because they prepared it themselves.

In addition to tasting lessons and recipe lessons, the curriculum guides include forms and letters for parents and volunteers. There are also safety and sanitation tips included at the beginning of the guides. In addition to the tips listed, you may also want to instruct children to avoid licking their fingers and sampling items before they are ready and to cover their mouths and noses and rewash their hands after they cough or sneeze. For some of the older kids, you can use the lessons as an opportunity to teach more about food safety, and cover issues of cross contamination and cooking temperatures (not currently included). The curriculum guides are very similar for each of the grades and contain only slight variations on some of the activities. This would make it difficult to use more than once as children advance in grade, as they would be repeating much of the same material. This also means that some of the curriculum may have to be adapted more depending on the level of the group with which it is used. For example, some kindergardners may have trouble with some of the vocabulary words in their curriculum (ex. niacin, carbohydrate) while some 6th grade students may think some of the drawing activities are childish.

Each curriculum also comes with a student book, which varies based on the grade level but contains accompanying activities to the lessons in the teachers’ curriculum. Activities increase in difficulty throughout the book and as the grade levels climb. The students’ books are printed entirely in English and Spanish, while the curriculum is printed mostly in English.

Overall, this is a creative, fun and organized curriculum that promotes hands-on experience with fresh, healthy foods.

Borrow it from the National Agricultural Library (NAL)
SNAP staff/SNAP-Ed providers can borrow materials from NAL through interlibrary loan.
    NAL Call No.: TX661 .W343 2005
    Go to Request Library Materials
View/download files: 
Cooking with Kids Web Site (HTML):
Free Tasting Lessons (URL leads to various PDF links):
Free Recipe Downloads (one per month on web site):
Contact the Distributor:
    Distributor: Cooking With Kids
    Contact: Lynn Walters
    Mail: 3508 Camino Jalisco
Santa Fe, NM 87507
    Phone: 505-438-0098
    Ordering: Curriculum and free downloads of tasting sessions available on web site:
    Order URL:
    Cost: 55.00 per each curriculum guide.
    Avail. in Qty: No
    Bulkrate:$150 for all three guides. A DVD with an 18-minute overview of the Cooking with Kids program is also available for $25.00.

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