American Heart Association needs participants to join free healthy cooking program

Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 17:55:01-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— The American Heart Association needs more cooks in the kitchen. They’ve re-launched their free heart healthy program to help adults prepare food that taste good and is good for the body.

Simple Cooking with Heart is a free program that teaches residents healthy cooking with demonstrations led by local chefs.

“The goal is to really just to arm people with knowledge that there are options for you to cook better at home,” says Briana Ricks, Community Impact Director with American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association brought the program back virtually last month.

Now they’re looking for new people to join their cooking class and they’re specifically targeting individuals who suffer from chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity.

“We know that there are a lot of people in Hampton roads that suffer from some form of heart disease, and with that, we also know that the best way to maintain that condition along with medications is healthier eating and lifestyle changes,” says Ricks.

A chief leads four weekly evening classes for participants who prepare meals that can feed a family of four and the groceries are delivered right to their door.

“We teach them that you don’t have to have fresh broccoli, you don’t have to have fresh green beans, you can get frozen and it’s much cheaper,” explained Ricks. “In some senses it can be better for you because the frozen foods they freeze them and that locks in the nutrients.”

A doctor provides health education during class and participants are gifted cookware to encourage them to continue healthy habits after the program ends.

“Whether she’s talking about diabetes, or hypertension, or how to count calories, how to read a nutrition label those are some of the things she’s going to be talking about when the class first starts,” says Ricks.

There’s room for around 20 people to get the full experience with groceries during each monthly session, but others can still join the zoom classes to learn new tip and tricks.

American Heart Association hopes that by teaching with examples people will make the small changes necessary to lead a longer and healthier lifestyle.

Anyone who wants to register can contact Briana Ricks by email at or call or text here at 804-205-7781.