Flint, MI—Applesauce and bananas may not be the first ingredients that come to mind for carrot cake muffins, but as a handful of young Flint-area residents learned over the weekend at a pop-up baking class hosted by Flint Kids Cook, they can serve as alternative ingredients to make sweet treats a bit healthier.
“I love the idea of being able to teach kids life skills, learning how to cook, learning how to make healthy meals, especially as a way to grow up healthy and develop these healthy habits and skills that they can take with them throughout their life,” said Sarah Egan, the project coordinator at Flint Kids Cook.
Flint Kids Cook is part of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a project launched in 2016 by Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital advocating for the continued health of children in Flint. The project originally aimed to mitigate the negative health effects of lead exposure in the wake of the Flint water crisis.
Now, Flint Kids Cook offers free in-person and virtual cooking classes for kids aged 8 to 18 throughout the year. Parents that want to sign their children up can do so on the project’s website or Facebook page.
The class on Saturday, however, was a pop-up, meaning that there was no registration and anyone who showed up could get right to baking. Egan said she and Chef Tina Barnett got the idea for a pop-up from a family in one of their virtual classes who wanted to meet them and foster more of a “community feeling.”
“We have the cooking class and the baking class, but sometimes people still want to do more,” she said. “So we thought this would be an opportunity to connect with those kids that have already been through all of our programs, and want to see us again.”