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Marcie Garcia, tour participant, chooses the health food during a Cooking Matters Tour at the commissary, Oct. 9, 2014.

Photo by Pfc. Julio McGraw

Cooking Matters program educates Combat Center patrons

16 Oct 2014 | Pfc. Julio McGraw Adjutant

The base commissary hosted the Cooking Matters Program’s kickoff event, which included a tour highlighting healthy food choices for Combat Center patrons, Oct. 9, 2014.

Cooking Matters is a program that supports the Healthy Base Initiative to educate service members and their families about healthy food choices. Combat Center Marines, volunteers and program coordinators helped run several tours throughout the day for the program’s first event aboard the base.

“We provide tours of the commissary to anyone who is able to shop there,” said Cat Arias, coordinator, Cooking Matters Program. “We teach how to shop healthy and do so on a budget.”

Although Cooking Matters is a new program, approximately 108 people participated in the tours, which ran every half-hour.

“I learned a lot about different foods,” said Raquel Avila, tour participant. “I think it is a great way to learn how to save money, especially on a military budget, and it was fun.”

The tour leaders were Marines and sailors from the Combat Center who volunteered to teach service members and families how to shop healthier.

“I love doing this,” said Sgt. Dajoun Mahammitt, tour guide, Cooking Matters Program. “I’m a type of person who loves teaching other people how to improve themselves. Exercise is always important but nutrition is just as important, and some people don’t know that."

At the end of the tour, participants took on the 10-minute $10 challenge. Participants had 10 minutes to shop for food using the knowledge they received from the tour to find a meal with unprocessed ingredients for less than $10. The purchase was discounted at the register if the products fit the criteria of the competition.

Cooking Matters tours will be available Fridays at 9 a.m. and will last throughout the day for every last Friday of the month.

“Our goal is to teach actionable steps to create long lasting healthy lifestyles, and to show that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat healthy,” Arias said.

For more information on the Cooking Matters program, visit CookingMatters29palms.eventbrite.com.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms