A wholefood cooking program which supports parents to make nutritious food is helping local families to build social connections and learn more about healthy eating.

Dozens of families have enjoyed learning new ways to cook and enjoy healthy food since the inception of the Nourishing Families program in 2017, taking part in regular cooking sessions by holistic health coach Danielle O’Donoghue at Katoomba North Public School.

Led by the Blue Mountains Food Co-Op and supported by Scenic World’s philanthropic program Scenic World Shared, the program brings local families and carers together to learn new skills, share meals and ideas and have fun along the way.

Importantly, the program also aims to get parents and carers involved in the process to break down barriers preventing families from enjoying nourishing food.

“Nourishing Families is about starting a conversation about healthy eating and inspiring local families to make new connections and give it a go,” Ms O’Donoghue said, adding that sharing ideas as opposed to dictating to young families was crucial to the success of the program.

“We learn and grow together to get an idea of what will work so we can help families see the value in healthy eating so it becomes a priority,” she added.

Parents and carers pull up their sleeves during fun and engaging cooking sessions, while the kids and parents have a chance to meet new friends in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Participants have also developed a collection of healthy recipes which they put into practice in their home kitchens.

Ms O’Donoghue said the program had been well received by participants, who have enjoyed learning how to cook with unfamiliar ingredients and discovering new ways of incorporating healthy ingredients into their kids’ favourite recipes.

“The program is all about building a community of engaged people who are keen to get involved and make healthy living a priority for their family,” she said.

Scenic World’s Managing Director Anthea Hammon commended the Blue Mountains Food Co-Op for delivering an innovative nutritional program that supports the community in a meaningful way.

“We know there are knowledge gaps when it comes to healthy eating in our community and it is a privilege to support such a progressive program which is positively impacting those who need it most,” she said.

The Nourishing Families program has received $4,200 of funding through the Scenic World Shared program to support improved health outcomes for families living in the Blue Mountains.

Nourishing Families is held in conjunction with the North Katoomba Community Hub play group, a supported play group network operated by Connect Child and Family Services.