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Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Cooking Demonstrations Show the Way

Good nutrition is extremely important for any person who may have been exposed to lead. To lessen the effects of lead exposure, a $22,000 Flint Kids grant to the Hurley Foundation supports cooking demonstrations and nutrition education to Flint families.

Hurley staff, in collaboration with other partners, will provide 100 cooking demonstrations at the Flint Farmers' Market, Flint schools and community locations. Recipes will include foods high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin C-all known to limit the effects of lead exposure.

"The purpose of this project is to teach Flint families how to mitigate some of the effects of lead absorption through better nutrition," said Alisa Craig, Administrator of Wellness Services at Hurley. "While there is no cure for lead exposure, proactive measures can lessen the impacts."

Recipes are selected for ease of preparation, overall nutrition, tastiness and kid appeal. Everyone who attends the cooking demonstrations will receive nutrition resources, including:

· "Nutrition and Lead" booklet that offers basic nutrition advice

· Kid-friendly recipes

· Information on community resources

· Key ingredients for at least two recipes in the booklet

· Non-perishable foods high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin C

· Fresh seasonal produce

Cooking demonstrations will continue and expand at the Flint Farmers' Market. To reach Flint children and their parents, demos will be held at Brownell/Holmes STEM Academy, Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary School, Eisenhower Elementary School, and Potter Elementary School.

"A proper diet in those exposed to lead has benefits in both the short and long-term," explained Craig. "In the short term, diets high in iron, calcium and Vitamin C limit the absorption of lead from the digestive tract. Adequate nutrition in the long-term fosters healthy brain development and can potentially mediate some of lead's effect on cognition and behavior."