Poverello Center’s ‘Be Well’ Cooking Classes Teach Program Participants Life Skills

Photos via Poverello and Pxhere

In addition to offering medically appropriate grocery items, nutritional information,wellness services,medical nutrition therapy and more to those with chronic illnesses, thePoverello Center offers classes of the culinary sense.

Poverello’s Be Well Cooking Class is hosted by Alden Bergeron, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Classes are about two hours long andcan hold eight program participants per class.
As far as types of cuisine, there is plenty of variety. Types of foods prepared in Be Well Cooking Classes vary tremendously,” Bergeronsaid.

I continuously develop new recipes utilizing pantry items that program participants receive.  I often take into consideration seasonal produce, holiday themed recipes, and various ethnic cuisines: Italian, Asian, Spanish, Irish, Indian, Mexican, Hawaiian, Cuban, Cajun/Creole.

When asked what sparked the idea of cooking classes,Bergeron said, “Poverello believes in the concept that food is medicine.  We provide our program participants carefully selected medically tailored meals for conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and HIV/AIDS.”  

Bergeron continued: “The idea of the classes is to teach program participants with critical/chronic illnesses how to prepare healthy dishes that would not exacerbate their specific disease state(s). Moreover, the Be Well Cooking Classes allow opportunities for program participants to learn various cooking techniques, chopping skills, knife safety, food safety, prevention of cross-contamination, and prevention of food borneillnesses.

Alden is the perfect candidate to teach these classes. After acquiringculinary arts training in New Orleans, heworked in the restaurant industry for over a decade before he pursued a nutrition and dietetics degree.To this day, his passion for cooking and foodblogging lives on.                                                                            

The Be Well Cooking Classes have been part of the Poverello program for about six years. In the future,a teaching kitchen will potentially be built to improve the learning and cooking experience.

Poverello provides services to individuals living with chronic illnesses such as diabetes,kidney disease,cardiovascular disease, etc. In addition, the organizationassists community clients, or those living below the poverty level.

The Be Well Cooking Classes are held at Poverellos food pantry everyWednesday at 2 p.m.Classes are scheduledfrom 2-4 p.m. but usually last about one and half hours long.No registration is required to participate.Please note that the Be Well Cooking Class is a class not open to the public, but solely to Poverello program participants.

The Poverello Center is located at 2056 N Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors.VisitPoverello.org or call 954-561-3663.