A new cooking program beginning this week aims to improve the health of Native American families in the Twin Cities metro area.
The cooking classes, which begin on Tuesday, will focus on making simple, healthy meals at home. They will incorporate locally grown ingredients and foods traditional to the Native American diet.
The program is designed for parents with young children and aims to curb the high rates of chronic disease in the Native American community, said Cassandra Silveira, the nutrition educator at Dream of Wild Health, the nonprofit leading the free classes.
"One of the reasons we are targeting the younger children is that younger children are increasingly being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes," she said, "and we feel like if we can reach them now, we may have a better chance at being able to reduce some of those chronic diseases that develop as you get older."
Silveira added: "Our goal is to help the Native population embrace a more traditional diet. Somehow incorporate, as affordability allows, some of those traditional ingredients back into your diet. So the wild rice, when you can, the berries, when you can, the game and the buffalo, when you can."
The classes are funded by a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation.