Preventing Obesity: Nutrition and Cooking with Kids

Brooke Wilson, MSW, NC, is a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Chef.  She believes that home cooking is one of the foundations of health and that food can be incredibly healing.  She founded Summer Thyme Wellness where she teaches nutrition and cooking to children, teens, and adults.  Very recently she worked with the national nonprofit, Wellness in the Schools, where she advocated for healthy school lunches and taught kids about food and nutrition.  COVID has really changed how she is able to work, and she is pivoting in order to continue to teach while also being safe.  She’s currently based in Reno, NV, with her 16-year old poodle and her fiance.  

In this episode we cover how she entered the field of nutrition and cooking, her passion for nutritious school lunches, how getting kids involved in home cooking is important for their long term health, and what she recommends for people wanting to step into the field.

In This Episode We Cover:

  • How her love for working with people led her to social work, which then led to public health with a focus on nutrition and cooking.
  • Her work in Camden, NJ with the nonprofit Wellness in the Schools working on preventing obesity in school-aged children.  
  • The surprising way many kids react to “healthy” food.
  • The ways in which community organizations have really stepped in during COVID to make sure meals are accessible to kids and families.
  • How COVID has changed the nature of her work.
  • The variations in school cultures even in the same geographical area and how those affect change-based work.
  • Her strategies to engage school leadership.  
  • Why exposing kids to new foods is crucial.
  • How to get involved in this work if you are new to the field.
  • Why cooking and food are a foundation of health.

Stand-Out Quotes:

  • (To become a part of the school community) “It’s a matter of observing, meeting with people, and talking to the kids.”  
  • (To engage the school as a community) “It’s about making sure I was building relationships with the principal, the lunch staff, and everyone involved.”
  • “What do you need?  How can I help?”
  • “ It wasn’t my change to be made.  It was the school’s change and they had to decide what they needed and how it was going to go.”
  • “When kids are involved in the cooking, it opens their eyes and sets them on a healthier path because food is so important for our health and cooking is the base for that.”  
  • “Food should bring joy.  It should bring friends together, families together.”
  • Try something new, if it feels right keep going in that direction.”

Reach Out:

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