Cooking with Kids for a Healthy Future (CWK)

Cooking with Kids, Inc.


Cooking with Kids for a Healthy Future (CWK) is a school-based food nutrition education curriculum program designed to educate and empower children and families to make healthy food choices through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultural traditions.  The program uses 3 nutrition education and obesity prevention approaches: direct education, multi-level interventions at multiple complementary organizational and institutional levels, and community and public health approaches to improve nutrition. CWK includes integrated curriculum guides (bilingual and grade-specific) with cooking lessons, school lunch recipes, how-to-videos, recipes, and other resources. CWK provides nutrition education in SNAP-Ed qualifying public schools and supports community and public health approaches, including the development of teaching kitchens in schools and the support of Farm to School and Child Nutrition Program staff training. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

CWK targets elementary school-aged children and their families at SNAP-Ed qualifying public schools. While the intervention is primarily located in two counties (Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties), it has been implemented in numerous counties throughout New Mexico. Fifteen teaching kitchens (to date) have been created in new and renovated public schools. Founded in 1995, Cooking with Kids has nurtured generations of children and families. The direct education component currently reaches 5,000 students and over 1,000 family member volunteers at 18 schools in Northern New Mexico. 

Setting: Community, School

Age: Elementary School, Adults

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

CWK includes a school-based nutrition education curriculum as well as policy, systems, and environmental supports to healthy eating in schools, including gardening and Farm to School programming and involvement in Local Food Policy Councils. These intervention components include the CWK direct education curriculum for elementary school children, including recipes and how-to videos available on the CWK website. 

Intervention Materials

Cooking with Kids cooking and tasting lessons are available for grades K-1, 2-3, or 4-5. Lessons are aligned with academic and health education standards and include: 

Step-by-step instructions and time estimates 

Kid-friendly classroom recipes in English and Spanish 

English and Spanish student materials (includes food and nutrition information) 

Suggestions for enrichment activities 

English and Spanish take-home recipes for families 

Intervention Costs

Cooking with Kids offers free start-up resources and fruit and vegetable tasting lessons as well as affordable pay-per-download cooking lessons ($5 per lesson). 

Evidence Summary

The following articles provide information around the adoption, implementation, and impact of the CWK program:

  • Hersch, D., Perdue, L., Ambroz, T., Boucher, J.L. (2014). The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food-Related Preferences, Attitudes, and Behaviors of School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review of the Evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2014;11:140267. DOI:
  • Cunningham-Sabo, L. & Lohse, B. (2013). Cooking with Kids Positively Affects Fourth Graders’ Vegetable Preferences and Attitudes and Self-Efficacy for Food and Cooking. Childhood Obesity, 9(6), 549-556.
  • Cunningham-Sabo, L. et al. (2013). Impact of a School-Based Cooking Curriculum for Fourth-Grade Students on Attitudes and Behaviors Is Influenced by Gender and Prior Cooking Experience. (2013). Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46 (2), 110-120.
  • Diker, A., Cunningham-Sabo, L., Bachman, K., Stacey, J. E., Walters, L. M., & Wells, L. (2013). Nutrition educator adoption and implementation of an experiential foods curriculum. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 45(6) 499-509.
  • Diker, A., Walters, L. M., Cunningham-Sabo, L., & Baker, S. S. (2011). Factors Influencing Adoption and Implementation of Cooking with Kids, An Experiential School-Based Nutrition Education Curriculum. Journal of Extension [Online], 49(1) Article 1FEA6. Available at:

Classification: Research-tested (direct education); Practice-tested (PSE and social marketing)

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2, ST4 MT1, MT2
Environmental Settings ST5, ST6, ST7 MT5 LT5, LT8
Sectors of Influence ST8 MT7,MT8, MT9,

Evaluation Materials

The University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (PRC) is developing and implementing statewide evaluation tools.

Success Story

Additional Information

Website: The CWK website ( includes resource information for families and educators, online recipes in English and Spanish, how-to videos, and other resources. 

Contact Persons:

Anna Farrier (Executive Director)
Bethany Muller (Program Director)
Cooking with Kids, Inc.
PO Box 6113
Santa Fe, NM 87502-6113
Phone: (505) 438-0098