Cooking healthy meals at home doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore, according to Amy Haack, teacher of the Army Wellness Center Stuttgart’s newest class, “Meals in Minutes.”
The class, scheduled to run monthly, is designed to teach time-crunched spouses and parents how to put together nutritious, home-cooked meals in a pinch.
“When I became a mom and went back to work, I realized that if I can make meals in minutes and it works for me … it can work for other people,” said Haack, an Army spouse and the AWC Stuttgart’s health educator.
In the first “Meals in Minutes” class held May 25 in the wellness center, Haack discussed how to read food labels in English and German to find healthy processed foods, gave health-smart shopping tips and shared some of her own recipes.
“The big thing for me was making sure people left with recipes and with actual ideas they can use at home,” she said.
Haack also introduced a list of nutritious “must-have” items to keep on hand, based on a poll she took of other home cooks, and sent participants away armed with online resources and a meal planning template.
“If you cook, it’s important to plan,” she said.
She closed out the hour-long class by providing a list of ways class participants can get started, such as trying one new recipe a week, or making and freezing an “emergency” meal in advance.
Class participants had the opportunity to ask questions, such as “Which veggies keep the longest?” and “What can I cook if my husband has high cholesterol?”
Tanya Kerr, an Air Force spouse, said “Meals in Minutes” helped her widen her options for putting meals on the table.
“It definitely gave me new ideas and new ways to look at labels, and called attention to issues I didn’t realize were important,” she said.
She also left the class with a plan for improving what her family eats. “I’m definitely going to try a couple of recipes they showed, and try to make out a meal plan more regularly,” she said.
Haack’s hope is that class attendees learn that staying healthy is possible, even with little time.
“What we feed our family and what we feed ourselves is important,” she said. “[I hope] people see that it can be affordable, quick and simple, and that it’s not that hard.”
The Army Wellness Center Stuttgart is located in Building 2337 on Patch Barracks. Hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, call 430-2997/4073/civ. 0711-680-2997/4073.