Cooking Competitions Add Flavor to “Let’s Talk Health” Week in Grand Rapids

Nine-year-old Sophia Lindsay steps it up when it comes to the nightly meal. She enjoys helping her mom, Marguerette, put dinner on the table by helping with the prep work.

She’ll put her kitchen skills to the test next week during the first “#MIKidsCan Cook” Cooking Contest, which will be held on Monday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at New Hope Baptist Church in Grand Rapids. A separate cooking competition for men, “Real Men Cook & Eat Healthy”, will take place on Friday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the church. Both are part of “Let’s Talk Health” week, which is put on annually by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and partnering community organizations to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

As a twin to sister Serenity, helping out in the kitchen is a great way for Sophia to get some one-on-one time with her mom.

“I like me and mama time and also, she teaches me how to make different things,” Sophia explained.

For her mother, getting Sophia involved in the kitchen is one way to steer her toward a healthy life path. The family recently found out that the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology 5th-grader has an elevated A1C level, a warning sign for potential diabetes.

“Besides the fact that it helps in the kitchen when I’m cooking, it also helps me push the healthy meals that I’m trying to make for them,” said Marguerette.

Marguerette said she looks for opportunities to promote health in her household. Serenity and Sophia trade off on helping to choose which healthy recipes they’ll prepare for the week and the family recently started training together to run their first 5K.

Even though he’d cooked healthy before the birth of his son, Geraud Singh can certainly relate to wanting to set a good example. Last year’s men’s cooking competition winner, Singh said the birth of three-year-old Caius made him try even harder. He cooked a majority of the meals for Caius’s mom when she was pregnant, saying it comes naturally to him.

“I wanted him to be healthy and that’s still what we try to do as parents with him,” Singh said. “I pretty much just have a knack for it and found a passion within my own home.”

He’ll compete again this year to defend his title and said he loves the message the cooking competition sends to men, encouraging them to galvanize their families around being healthier.

“I think the message is perfect because I think men need to stand up and be men,” he said.

Let’s Talk Health Week is a continuation of BCBSM’s commitment to improving the health of Michigan’s residents by bringing local leaders, advocates, agencies and members of faith-based organizations together to discuss health disparities that affect African-American and Latino communities, while encouraging prevention.

Learn more about other “Let’s Talk Health” week events and find Singh’s winning recipe from last year.

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Photo credit: Coqui the Chef

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