Chocolate and Cookies...Healthy? You Bet!

April 10, 2007 -- Posted at 10:00 a.m. CST

Jonesboro, AR -- NEA Clinic Center for Healthy Children is hosting a cooking and nutritional class for kids and their parents. Together they can learn how to eat great and feel great. Carrie Aquino and Chef Steve Hickinbotham from Sheffield's are teaching how to make low-fat and low-calorie foods at home, and they're quick and easy.

"The kids love learning these quick and easy recipes and we get great feedback from them. They tell us what they make for their parents and their grandparents and it's great. So we told them we would reward them with something sweet, but low-calorie."

Pudding Cups, only 35 calories, here's how you make them.

pkg. of fat-free, sugar free pudding, 1 box of low-fat Vanilla Wafers, 1 can whipped light cream, bag of chocolate chips

Directions: Mix pudding by directions on box (use low-fat milk), place one vanilla wafer in each cup or cupcake liner, divide pudding mixture onto cookie, top with a little whipped cream and a few chocolate chips. Chill and serve!


Sheffield's teaching healthy cooking at Center for Healthy Children

Every other week a group of kids and their parents gather at the NEA Clinic Charitable Foundation Center for Healthy Children to watch some dinner theater. Well, it's not really theater, but it is entertaining and it does involve food.

The Center recently began offering healthy cooking classes, and with the help of Carrie Aquino, owner of Sheffield's, and chef Steve Hickinbotham, the children and parents receive valuable lessons in grocery shopping and meal preparation that will help them achieve a healthier diet without breaking the bank.

"Our challenge is to try to do something that's healthy, and something that's economically feasible for parents," said Aquino. "There's a misconception that if you want to eat healthy, you're going to have to spend a lot of money."

Aquino and Hickinbotham come every other Monday at 5:30 p.m. and do two 30-minute classes. They always bring the receipt to show the cost of the ingredients purchased for that evening's dish. Aquino said she and Hickinbotham are comedians at heart and try to make the classes fun and entertaining as well as informative.

According to Aquino, because Sheffield's is a private club, it donates to local nonprofits. They chose Center for Healthy Children because they appreciated what the program is doing, and they wanted to help families learn how to have dinner without relying on fast food.

"We take a large bag of boneless, skinless chicken breast, and we show them how to make that last," she said. "Last week we did a grilled chicken pasta salad. We've had parents ask us to make a cookbook!"

The next cooking class is scheduled for Monday, April 23.  The Center for Healthy Children, located inside the NEA Clinic Wellness Center at 2617 Phillips Dr., is a free program designed to help overweight children learn about proper nutrition and how to incorporate physical activity into their lifestyle. For more information about the center, call manager Laura Taylor at 336-1760.