Hello! How’s your October going? This month I’ve had the wonderful luxury of time to pursue endeavors that I had placed on the back-burner for a bit, and one of these is getting back to a project I’ve been working on throughout med school—something I’d like to share with you and invite you to get involved.
At my med school, every student chooses a longitudinal project to pursue. These range anywhere from work in basic science labs to investigations abroad. My interests landed me in the realm of community health, and furthermore, my love for cooking, nutrition, and making healthy food accessible gave me the inspiration to create a healthy cooking resource for community members in the South Side of Chicago, an area disproportionately affected by obesity and obesity-related illness and under-resourced in terms of access to healthy foods. But before I could create a recipe resource, I wanted to find out what assets, needs, and desires actually existed in the community. To do this, I interviewed community members about what and how they cook, what they like to eat, where they shop for groceries, and what they would find helpful in a healthy cooking resource. From this, I received a wealth of information regarding people’s food habits, a lot of wonderful stories about favorite dishes and kitchen memories, and most excitingly, found there were a strong interests in cooking and obtaining a healthy, budget-friendly resource of recipes.
Now armed with this firsthand knowledge and a list of hundreds of dishes, I’m onto phase two of the project: writing up recipes that honor people’s food preferences and cooking styles and use ingredients that are readily available and affordable in grocery stores in the area. Much as I love to cook and conjure new creations, I know there is a talented pool of cooks out there, and the power of our combined efforts is greater than anything I could ever do alone.
So, I’d love your help! If you have any favorite healthy, budget-friendly, quick-and-easy recipes, send them my way! There are also interests in diabetic-friendly, low-sodium, and kid-friendly recipes. I’m compiling recipes onto a nutrition-focused site, and of course, anything you send will be credited.
As a starting point, here’s a recipe I tested last night: Zucchini Noodle-less Lasagna, which replaces pasta sheets with zucchini slices, ricotta with cottage cheese, and packs a punch of spinach. At 120 calories, 12g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, and 91 cents per serving, this certainly fits the bill of health and budget-friendliness.
Here’s to putting our creative minds and cooking talents together! You can send me any of your recipes, thoughts, or ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.