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Hannaford Supermarkets offers virtual cooking classes – Sentinel and Enterprise

FITCHBURG — As a dietitian partner with Hannaford Supermarkets, Minna Scholten’s role is to provide education, inspiration and shopping guidance to support customer health and well-being.

With many school-aged children learning from home this fall, Hannaford Supermarkets has partnered with Fitchburg Public Library to present the virtual event “Remote Learning in the Kitchen.”

At 7 p.m. Oct. 5, Scholten will give participants practical ideas and projects for incorporating academic learning into easy and fun kitchen activities, adaptable for a wide variety of ages and skill levels.

Scholten assures this program will be perfect for parents and professional educators alike.

“We are all doing our best to access health and maintain good family relationships during a relatively stressful time,” Scholten said. “During the talk, I will be giving some background on the research-based benefits of family meals for physical and mental health, age-appropriate food, and nutrition education, and how to keep things fun.”

People are spending more time preparing food at home due to COVID-19 and Scholten realizes it can also get tiresome.

“I’ll offer some tips for keeping kids engaged, curious and involved,” she said. “Cooking is a really empowering experience for kids, and parents often underestimate what they are capable of.”

Families who participate in all kinds of schooling are welcome, whether they do home-schooling, public or private education.

“Attendees will learn why the kitchen is the best room in the house for learning nearly every subject,” Scholten said with a smile.

Participants will also get a selection of activities to do with their kids and a great list of online resources for food-related learning material across academic areas.

“Overall, I hope this workshop will be useful, that it will help families bond over food and cooking, and foster that stability and comfort that family meals provide,” Scholten said.

Participants will be entered for a drawing to win a prize basket from Hannaford. All attendees will receive electronic copies of recipes, fun kitchen science projects and resources.

Register at tinyurl.com/fplremotekitchen. A link to the meeting will be emailed to attendees prior to the event. For information about this or other library programs, call 978-829-1780 or visit FitchburgPublicLibrary.org

“It’s really awesome that I get to partner in this,” Scholten said. “I hope that some of the class attendees will stop by my table in the Lunenburg Mass Ave., the Lancaster Street Leominster store as well as my colleague Pat Hunter’s table in the Twin Cities Plaza store. We always have great recipes and tips to share!”

As always, Hannaford is bringing this kind of programming free to its local communities.

“In my work as a community dietitian, I absolutely love working with families,” Scholten said. “With distance learning making up such a big part of the school year in 2020, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to offer some support! Teachers are working so hard right now to engage their students from a distance, and parents need to find opportunities to occupy their kids’ time as well as enhance their at-home learning opportunities. In this program for the Fitchburg Public Library, I offer some great resources on how to leverage family meals into education.”

Hannaford dietitians work at 10 Hannaford stores in Massachusetts, including both Leominster stores and the Lunenburg store. Overall, the dietitian program covers nearly 60 stores in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

“When the COVID-19 crisis began, Hannaford dietitian services were interrupted along with everything else in our world,” Scholten said. “From March until the start of the summer, we were unable to be in stores, and began exploring creative ways to connect with our customers virtually. We are excited to be continuing with this virtual work as we head into the fall.”

The beauty of virtual events is that they can be conducted from anywhere and Scholten said she is excited to announce the upcoming virtual classes on eating for heart health and diabetes that her fellow dietitians are conducting for heart health and diabetes management.

“Explore the role nutrition plays in managing your blood sugar, reducing risk factors and lowering risk of diabetes side effects,” Scholten said, “particularly in type 2 diabetes.”

Classes will be held today at noon; Friday at 11:30 a.m.; Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.; Oct. 3 at 10 a.m.; Oct. 8 at noon; Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.; Oct. 19 at 4 p.m.; Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.; and Nov. 2 at 5:30 p.m.

A Heart Healthy Class will be offered, during which participants can learn how to fill their cart to protect their heart.

“We’ll take a close look at foods that can help improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and overall health,” Scholten said.

Classes will be held Thursday at noon; Sept. 28 at 4 p.m.; Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 16 at 11 a.m.; and Oct. 21 at 5 p.m.

Class sizes are limited. To register online, visit hannafordnutrition.eventbrite.com.

“Remote learning and being at home together as a family for many hours of the day is quite challenging. Preparing three meals a day plus snacks at home for every household member is a big change from the norm for most families,” Scholten said. “Why not make great use of the time and energy by making cooking part of our learning?”