Starting in October, Baptist BestHealth and Morrison’s teamed up to bring pop-up healthy and easy cooking classes to Baptist hospitals. Their first class was at Baptist Memphis, followed by classes at Baptist Women’s and Baptist DeSoto, where they taught team members how to make a quick, easy and healthy meal. With several Morrison’s chefs and registered dietitians, BestHealth wellbeing specialist Shannon Willoughby helped launch the Teaching Kitchen with the goal of reaching all Baptist entities within the first year of the program.
Baptist team members prepared and ate a seasonal harvest salad with arugula lettuce, sweet potato, feta cheese and pumpkin seeds with a homemade vinaigrette to reduce sodium intake. They learned about the health benefits of eating root vegetables, which include vitamin C, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, iron and magnesium.
“Roasting the sweet potato wedges, which are root vegetables, brings out the natural flavor and sugars through caramelization,” explained chef Josh House. “We don’t have to add additional seasonings to the sweet potatoes, keeping this a lower sodium meal.”
The sweet potatoes, along with the naturally peppered arugula, naturally salty feta cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds and tangy lemon thyme vinaigrette, made for a filling, satisfying meal.
“If you want to make this a heartier salad, you could add lean protein like salmon or plant-based chickpeas or quinoa,” suggested Christie Griffin, registered dietitian and assistant clinical nutrition manager for Baptist hospitals, to the class.
Team members filled every available spot in all three classes.
“We hope to add more classes as we get feedback,” said Shannon, who has a master’s degree in nutrition. “Team members who attended filled out a survey before the class and will complete a follow-up survey in a month to gauge what they learned and future interest in more classes.”
Team members who attended the classes left with the recipe and a tip sheet on how to keep the recipe healthy and seasonal. For example, avocado can be added in the summer during its peak fresh season for healthy fats.
The Teaching Kitchen will be coming to more Baptist entities soon.