FORT POLK — Today’s children are more tech savvy and inquisitive, especially when it comes to cooking and nutrition. Everyone is striving to eat healthier and kids are no exception. Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, in conjunction with Corvias Military Living, sponsored a special Kids Cooking Class, Aug. 20 for ages 5 and up.

The popularity of this class was amazing. Within an hour after being posted to Facebook the class was filled, and a waiting list created that has more than 50 names for the next class.

Alexis Motley, BJACH’s dietitian and host of the quarterly Healthy Cooking Class aired live on BJACH’s Facebook page (as well as the JRTC and Fort Polk Facebook page), concentrated on helping kids discover fun healthy foods they could make without much help. Each participant had a variety of healthy choices for the fruit cup and rainbow wrap.

Motley explained to the kids and parents the importance of allowing children to experience new foods and letting them help.

“Kids are adventurous. Let them try new foods or perhaps a new way to make an item,” she said.

“Discovering new ways to use fresh vegetables and fruits while cutting calories and fat in your daily diet is a positive thing.”

Each work station was equipped with all the necessary items, utensils and recipe cards. Originality was the key word for these creations.

The young chefs’ enthusiasm as they decided on their particular choices was unique as they shared their knowledge with each other.

After assembling the fruit cup, each young chef eagerly tasted their creation. Some added a few more choices, while others ate in delight, smiling with each bite.

Some chefs finished their fruit cup and made another, sometimes varying the ingredient choices just a little.

The rainbow wrap added a colorful variety of fresh veggies to the plate. Spreading a wheat tortilla with garden cream cheese or pureed bean dip and adding fresh tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, sweet red peppers, and purple cabbage was a new twist for most of the kids.

Eagerly each chef assembled their wrap, carefully rolling up the tortilla to help contain its ingredients before taking that first bite. Some even shared with their parents who were watching the culinary delight.

Motley emphasized that allowing a child to help strengthens family bonding while providing a fun time for everyone.

In addition to providing the ingredients for the class, Corvias donated the use of the Dogwood Neighborhood Center. “Partnering with Corvias has made our healthy cooking class possible and the request for more classes is growing,” said Kathy Adams BJACH’s resilience coordinator.

“These healthy cooking classes are helping the Fort Polk community discover new ways to incorporate healthier food choices into our daily lives,” she said.

Participants received a complementary apron, gift grab bag and a folder filled with their recipe cards and other healthy nutritional information to take home.