6 Ways Seniors Can Spice Up the Kitchen with Cooking Classes


Whether you’re in an independent senior community or an assisted living facility, you probably do some of your own cooking. You might even enjoy gathering in the community kitchen to help with meal prep on certain nights. Activities directors in senior communities, similarly, seek food-related activities to keep residents engaged and stimulated.

Why not consider bringing in pros to teach some unique cooking classes for the residents? Inquire about chefs who can hold classes on-site or at another location at high-end culinary stores, community colleges and even the public library. Or plan a day trip for seniors in the community to take classes outside the community.

Here are five unique cooking classes to consider offering to residents in a senior community.

Paleo Cooking Class
The Paleo Diet should not be confused with a raw food diet. The Paleo Diet, instead, focuses on foods that are not processed, even if they are cooked. The diet includes staples like free-range or gas-fed beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, fish and other seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthy oils.

Cake Baking/Decorating
From food coloring gels and bakery-quality cake mixes that make it easy to incorporate swirls and patterns of various colors and designs into any cake, to vast improvements in the quality and ease-of-use of fondant, making and decorating fun-to-eat cakes has never been easier.

Invite a baker to teach residents the basics, and then hold a cake contest. Who can come up with the most original (and best-tasting!) design? Don’t forget to share your creations on Pinterest.

Chocolate Prep
Chocolate’s many health benefits have been proven in recent years. In addition to stimulating the release of endorphins and serotonin to evoke feelings of happiness and well-being, dark chocolate also contains high concentrations of flavonoids, the same phytochemicals found in tea, red wine, and many fruits. Flavonoids slow oxidation of cells to help prevent cancer and slow the signs of aging, and also can help decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Making chocolate with molds is an easy and fun creative outlet that requires minimal instruction, but a teacher can demonstrate advanced techniques to create fun treats.

Even if senior community residents don’t opt for a vegetarian lifestyle, it can be fun to pick up some low-cal, low-fat healthy recipes that incorporate vegetables and grains as the main ingredients, with protein coming from sources like beans and soy.

Ethnic Foods
Activities directors in senior communities can turn this into a fun, and inexpensive, activity everyone can enjoy… no help from professional chefs required.

Many seniors still remember their parents’, and even their grandparents’, Old World recipes. In many cases, they’ve already been passed down through several generations. Residents can share recipes for their favorite Italian, German, Irish, English, Greek and other dishes, instructing the other residents in the preparation and then enjoying the meal together.

What cooking classes would you like to see available in your senior community?

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