Mid-Missouri group holds free cooking classes to inspire healthy eating

Participants made spaghetti squash with tomato sauce (KRCG 13)

Healthy Schools Healthy Communities hosted their first free healthy cooking class in Jefferson City on Wednesday.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, nearly two out of every three Missourians are overweight or obese.

In an effort to combat those statistics, Missouri Foundation for Health and Capital Region Medical Center partnered to educate community members on living a healthier lifestyle.

"It's exciting to be able to do it ourselves here," Mary Rehagen said.

Rehagen was a participant at the first free healthy cooking class held at the new Linc wellness center.

The cooks gained valuable hands on experience while cutting, chopping and mixing the ingredients.

CRMC Wellness Navigator Caroline Anderson explained the group was making a tomato sauce to go with the spaghetti squash that is a healthy alternative to noodles.

"The goal is to bring our communities together. To teach people of all generations how to cook and how to work together to bring whole foods back into the kitchen," CRMC Supervisor of Corporate and Community Health Tiffany Ruledge said.

Rehagen thought the class was fantastic. She said, "hopefully more and more people will take advantage of it and learn to cook at home."

Any age and any level of cooking experience was welcomed at the class.

"Some folks have never been to a cooking class before. Some folks have a little bit of experience with cooking, and others don't," Rutledge said.

Organizers said it's never too late to start eating healthy. They're hoping community members will take the first step to invest in their health and pass along the message.

"We're hoping that they get motivated to learn more and that they're excited to go home and enact the skills they're learning in their home kitchens," Anderson said. "And maybe inspire their friends and family to start cooking more at home with whole foods and real foods. So we're starting a fire here and we hope that it grows."

There will be four more free healthy cooking classes on August 15 and 29 at 1 p.m.; and September 5 and 19 at 3 p.m.

Organizers said there may be more in the future as well.

Space is limited and registration is required. For more information, you can contact Ashley Varner at or call 573- 632-5605