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Children’s Primary Care Medical Group receives grant to help parents learn to cook

Children’s Primary Care Medical Group
Children’s Primary Care Medical Group was recently awarded a grant to test innovative ways to bring food skills education to parents and caregivers of young children through their healthcare provider.
(Getty Images courtesy of CPCMG)

According to the San Diego Hunger Coalition, 2 in 5 children in San Diego live in households that can’t provide consistent access to enough nutritious food for a healthy lifestyle. But a local pediatric medical group is making it possible for families to learn the skills to plan, shop for and prepare healthy meals on a budget.

Children’s Primary Care Medical Group (CPCMG) was awarded a grant to test innovative ways to bring food skills education to parents and caregivers of young children (from birth to age 5) through their healthcare provider. This includes virtual nutrition and cooking sessions for families in San Diego and Riverside counties.

The grant is from Cooking Matters, a national campaign which works to inspire families to make healthy, affordable food choices. Cooking Matters is a campaign of Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization working to end hunger and poverty.

“Partnering with Cooking Matters to help support families in optimizing nutrition in the first 5 years is aligned with CPCMG’s goal of partnering with families to raise the healthiest cohort of children,” said Dr. Natalie Muth, CPCMG WELL Clinic director, pediatrician and registered dietitian.

Starting this month, the pilot project will offer private nutrition coaching to patients and to support caregivers with early feeding and picky eating challenges.

“Reaching this age group is key for helping kids develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime,” said Cassandra Padgett, CPCMG Health Educator, and lead on the Cooking Matters project.

Virtual group cooking demos hosted by Dr. Mary Tanaka, CPCMG pediatrician and culinary medicine expert, will begin in July. “This is a great opportunity for CPCMG to help parents and caregivers learn to make the best food choices for their family while staying within their budget. Believe it or not, it’s possible to do, even with increased prices at the grocery store,” said Dr. Tanaka.

The pilot project will run through October 2022. CPCMG will also take part in a learning cohort with other organizations around the country, to share best practices and support successful implementation of their grant programming.

“We are thrilled to partner with Cooking Matters to provide our patients with the knowledge and tools to create healthy easy, affordable, and delicious eating,” said Dr. Tanaka. “Establishing healthy eating habits, such as cooking at home, can have powerful effects on supporting food security and decrease picky eating.”

About Children’s Primary Care Medical Group

Since 1995, Children’s Primary Care Medical Group has grown to be the region’s largest medical group specializing in primary care just for kids. Children’s Primary Care Medical Group has more than 145 board-certified pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners and physician assistants in 28 offices throughout San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties. To learn more, visit cpcmg.net.

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