Building confidence and changing habits one meal at a time

Students gain so much more than just healthy eating habits through our fun and interactive FoodREDi program.
"I used to eat so much junk food. Now I make my own dinners. I cook a stir fry or homemade pies with heaps of veggies thrown in them."

What was the hardest thing you faced when learning to cook for yourself?

Students of Central Coast Community College graduated from a six-week Australian Red Cross FoodREDi course this week saying they were amazed to learn how easy it was to cook healthy, good tasting food.

Student Joshua Murray, 19,  said he'd made the shift from buying "junk food" and drinks high in sugar to making healthy choices and cooking for his family.

"I used to eat so much junk food," Joshua said.

"Now I make my own dinners. I cook a stir fry or homemade pies with heaps of veggies thrown in them," he said.

"And now if I drink something like a chocolate drink, I get a low sugar drink."

Joshua and other students gathered at the college's Ourimbah campus food training kitchen on Friday to show off their new-found skills to cook a healthy lunch for college Chief Executive Officer Joanne Martin, Australian Red Cross Regional Manager Ben Clark and representatives from ALDI, who support Red Cross' food literacy work through the ALDI | Red Cross FoodREDi Project, ALDI Corporate Responsibility Manager Inga Cramer, Corporate Responsibility Assistant Ellen Morris and ALDI Area Manager David Folland.

Guests were treated to pizzas made with a wholemeal Lebanese bread base and topped with ham, pineapple, fresh vegetables and a small amount of cheese as well as home made zucchini and corn fritters.

Central Coast Community College lead trainer Erin Jacob said the food preparation and cooking skills gained by the students had given them confidence to cook for themselves.

"Confidence building has been the main thing but they learned about nutrition and how to cook for themselves," Ms Jacob said.

The Australian Red Cross FoodREDi program makes up six weeks of a 10-week Life Skills Program designed by the College for people who are disadvantaged in some way - either homeless, disengaged from society or living with a form of disability.

The FoodREDi component is partially funded by  ALDI to encourage good health and an appreciation of food choices on overall health and wellbeing. The Food REDI program is offered directly by Australian Red Cross to a wide range of vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrant groups, prisoners, people with a mental illness and young people.

It's broken down into six modules about food safety and handling, cooking skills, budgeting, food choices and physical health.

Graduating students of Central Coast Community College's program received a certificate for the skills and knowledge they'd gained over the six weeks of training. 

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