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, Social Marketing, PSE Change

Intervention Reach and Adoption

CWK targets elementary school-aged children and their families at SNAP-Ed qualifying public schools and farmers’ markets. While the intervention is primarily located in one county (Santa Fe County), it has been implemented in numerous counties throughout New Mexico. Ten teaching kitchens (to date) have been created in new and renovated public schools; the social marketing campaign is being piloted in three schools in underserved areas. The direct education component reaches 5,000 students annually through direct education and 137,000 recipes and newsletter sent home to families. Over the past 20 years, CWK has provided nutrition education to over 17,000 students.

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

Intervention Costs

Cost information coming soon.

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 MT2
Environmental Settings ST5, ST6, ST7 MT5 LT5, LT8
Sectors of Influence ST8 MT7, MT9, MT12

Evaluation Materials

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

Additional Information

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

Contact Persons:

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