Airway Heights families learn about making fast food at home

Sunset Elementary hosts cooking class

Kristen Nicholson helps the Peterson family make a fruit salad to go with their meal. Nicholson was one of the teachers at the Sunset Elementary Cooking with Families Nutrition class.

Sunset Elementary school hosted a Cooking with Families/Nutrition class for local families, Jan. 16, in the gymnasium.

Sunset holds cooking classes every few months as a part of health and wellness development.

According to Laura Martin, the wellness coordinator for Cheney School District, the focus for this class was to show families they could cook fast food meals at home on a smaller budget.

As students and parents came into the gym, teachers brought them to one of the tables lined with juices, soft drinks and energy drinks. Teachers brought up several facts about the drinks, including the amount of sugar in each one.

After the presentation with the drinks, families took seats at the tables as Kristen Nicholson, a professor from Washington State University, broke down the price and nutritional values of a meal from McDonalds, comprised of six-piece chicken nuggets, a small fry and a small soft drink and a homemade meal of breaded chicken, baked fries, a fruit salad and 1-percent milk.

“The message here is not to stay away from fast food, but we recommend only going out once or twice a week,” Nicholson said.

While fast food is convenient for saving time, Nicholson recommended that families who are busy during the week take some time during the week to prepare the food ahead of time.

In addition to comparing the two meals, Nicholson also informed students about which fruits contained Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Following Nielsen, Martin showed how to bread the chicken with panko breadcrumbs, milk or eggs, salt petter and garlic powder, before putting it into the oven. She added that families can do anything to “spice up the meat” if they wanted to add some extra flavor to the chicken.

Martin then showed families how to cut potatoes for baked fries. Similar to the chicken, Martin recommended that families could add herbs to the potatoes.

As families were waiting for the main course of dinner, teachers brought out apples, bananas, kiwis and had families make a fruit salad.

“The fruit salad gave kids and parents a hands-on activity where they can participate,” Martin said.

After the fruit salads were complete, families were served baked fries and breaded chicken to go along with the salad.

Jeani Struss, Sunset Elementary teacher who is in charge of the cooking classes, said that parents were happy with the information that was presented during the class.

“[The class] gave them a chance to eat dinner as a family and meet some new people,” Struss said.

Struss added that there will be another Cooking with Families/Nutrition class in March.

Al Stover can be reached at


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