Nutrition & Cooking courses for vulnerable communities

  • 2019

  • Social Impact

Designed By:

  • Mary Wills
  • Kerryn Boogaard

Commissioned By:

Mary Wills

Kerryn Boogaard

Designed In:


TWC is a mobile nutrition and cooking education service offering hands-on nutrition and cooking experiences. Our team of dietitians and home economists offer a very unique service. We use practical education to enable vulnerable community members to optimise nutrition knowledge and cooking skills, and overcome social, medical and financial barriers to good health.

view website
view facebook

  • MORE
  • Research illustrates that poor dietary intakes are key contributing factors to the current global burden of chronic disease. Of particular concern is the rise in takeaway and convenience meals consumed away from home. Although it is known that home cooking can provide many health benefits, there are several barriers to preparing healthy meals at home. Barriers include lack of cooking skills, a lack of confidence and poor knowledge. Our most vulnerable community members often have contributing barriers to home cooking and eating well including low levels of education, mental health problems, social isolation and low incomes.

  • TWC approaches established community providers to offer their clients hands-on nutrition and cooking programs. This means we target the groups that really need our help. These groups include youth (with limited family support), young mothers, disability and Aboriginal Australian groups. We take time to get to know this community and tailor programs to their individual needs. We always use the groups on-site kitchen, providing a familiar and safe place to relax and learn. These nutrition and cooking courses show them how to address their barriers to cooking and eating well in a very practical and fun way.

  • Twenty three programs have been evaluated (targeting almost 230 participants). Evaluations consistently show participant improvements in nutrition knowledge, cooking skills, confidence cooking & shopping/budgeting skills. Subjective results from these evaluations show immediate behaviour change with participants regularly reporting/illustrating increased cooking occasions at home, relaying nutrition information to family members, encouraging family to try new recipes, reporting on recipes that they have cooked, improved attitudes toward trying new foods, improving the quality of diet, shopping more regularly, eating more with the family (improving social connection), strengthening relationships with parents through cooking together, eliminating soft drink consumption & becoming less reliant on takeaway foods.

  • TWC programs focus on an entire community already engaged in local services providing a holistic approach to behaviour change. This strengthens attendance rates and helps to change their environment to ensure healthy food availability and educating their wider community. Programs are commonly comprised of four education sessions with each session involving: - A group discussion focusing on a specific nutrition and food topic related to the group. - The group then works together to prepare each component of a two course meal. The meal reflects the topic of discussion and the menu is chosen by the group to ensure that new cooking skills and flavours are relevant to the groups needs. - Readily available domestic kitchen appliances are always used e.g. an electric frying pan. - The group sit down together to share the meal, offering an opportunity for social interaction. - The meal is always enjoyed over a set dining table (which the participants set). Some participants have never sat at a set dining table with their family. This offers a very safe and encouraging environment to try new foods, socialise and discuss education learnt throughout the sessions. - Participants are given the opportunity to have an individual consultation with a dietitian if required.