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Published on February 01, 2017

Nurture Better Nutrition Habits

March is National Nutrition Month. Consider this an opportunity to learn clean eating tips from health experts.

Leishman Center for Culinary HealthThe Leishman Center for Culinary Health at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital provides healthy eating classes so people can learn nutrition information, watch healthy cooking demonstrations, and practice their skills in a group setting.

“We offer classes on a variety of topics, from dehydrating, canning, and freezing foods to selecting, cutting, and eating fresh produce,” says Jo Cessna, healthy culinary instructor at the Leishman Center for Culinary Health. “Every class includes a speaker who adds another layer of information, such as exercise tips or which foods are good for your brain. Participants see the big picture of nutrition and learn how to apply these lessons to their cooking practices.”

The highlight for many participants is getting to taste new foods and expand their horizons. They learn what they like and dislike. Every class is interactive, so they can ask questions and figure out how to tailor recipes to their taste preferences.

Cooking For Connection

“Cooking is a tool that helps anyone live a healthier lifestyle,” Cessna says. “We approach healthy eating in a way that supports community. We encourage participants to get to know local growers and buy local produce. We also take participants to our hospital garden to see firsthand how foods are harvested. It connects them with nature.”

Visiting the garden and working with fresh produce allows participants to learn what real food looks and tastes like. A plant-based diet, explains Cessna, is rich in the many vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy.

Want to learn to cook with fresh, local produce in a hands-on setting? Register for a class in the Leishman Center for Culinary Health at

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