Eat Well Spend Less is a free six-session course teaching people cookery skills and household budgeting tips to help make tight budgets stretch further. Typically, we look at the basics of cookery, budgeting, hygiene and nutrition.
What does it cover?
It’s an entry-level course so participants don’t need to know how to cook before they come. Each session is two and a half hours long, covering two basic recipes as well as activities on the session’s topic. Recipes are demonstrated to participants before they attempt to make it themselves, covering dishes like a quick soup, basic tomato sauces and treats like crumbles too. It’s very relaxed, participants cook with us and take home what they make. We also cover a range of subjects surrounding cooking and budgeting, including menu planning, portion sizes, money planning, ‘supermarket psychology’ and tips on picking up bargains. We all learn together in a small group, so people can share their own skills and experience too. The course is fun and informal, and it’s a great way to discover new tips and techniques on how to cook quick, healthy meals on a low budget.
The Trussell Trust ran pilots of this course in Salisbury in 2014 and has now trained a further 110 foodbanks in the network, helping people on low incomes. It has three objectives:
- To equip people with cookery skills and the confidence to build upon these skills in their day to day lives so that they are able to prepare and eat healthier food.
- To give an understanding of how to plan meals, both from an economic and a nutritional point of view.
- To teach people simple financial management techniques to enable them to budget more effectively and avoid getting into debt.
We hope that with these skills people will become empowered to break the cycle of poverty.
- Promoting a better understanding of a balanced diet using The Eatwell Guide, and encouraging and empowering people to cook more of their meals from scratch, cutting out a lot of the salt and sugar found in ready meals and take-aways.
- Physical health benefits from eating a healthier diet.
- Increase in confidence in the kitchen and willingness to taste new things.
- Peer learning is an important factor. By facilitating discussions between people on topics, they have been able to build social networks whilst participating in the course.
- Addressing some of the mental health needs that people may be facing. The Mental Health Foundation has collected evidence that suggests that as well as its impact on short and long-term mental health, the evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development,management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.