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Nutrition Services

What is Nutrition?

Nutrition is the study of food at work in our bodies. Food is our source for energy and is essential for the body and all its systems to function properly. Good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth. Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition. Having nutrition knowledge and making smart choices about the foods you eat can help you achieve optimum health over your lifetime, and be a key to avoiding obesity, illness, and many of today’s most common chronic diseases.

Why is this a focus of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD)?

Eating a balanced diet is vital for good health and wellbeing. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture says in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that poor diet is a major cause of chronic diseases and death in the United States, including heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about half of American adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor eating habits and physical inactivity. In addition, recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults combined is approximately 70%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 17 percent of children and teenagers (ages 2 to 9) are obese and 31.8% were either overweight or obese.

How is KCHD addressing this problem?

The Health Education & Promotion Nutrition Education Program works with school age children and adults to educate and encourage healthier food and lifestyle choices.

Nutrition and Wellness services offered by KCHD:

Adult Nutrition & Healthy Cooking Demonstrations

Join Dawn Davies, Public Health Nutrition and Culinary Educator, in the kitchen to learn tips and tricks for cooking and how to create easy, delicious, healthy, and affordable dishes. Participants watch the creation of each recipe, taste-test featured dishes, and learn practical nutrition information that can be incorporated into their lifestyle.

  • Cooking Classes can be scheduled for your organization. The cost is $65 for a group class, plus the cost of food. No more than 10-15 participants per class recommended.
  • Individuals may attend classes scheduled at the Kent County Health Department for $10 per person.
  • Host your own cooking class or click here (schedule coming April 2017) for a schedule of classes offered at the Kent County Health Department.

Cooking Class Options Available Year Round

  • Cooking Healthy & Delicious the Mediterranean Way: Discover the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet and how to make it a part of your lifestyle. The class will take you on a journey around the Mediterranean by sampling delicious menu items, introducing you to new recipes, and discuss in detail what the Mediterranean diet is all about.
  • Great Grains: Grains are delicious and nutritious, but unfortunately have gotten a bad rap. We will explore these misunderstood morsels of goodness, their nutritional value and how to prepare them. Gluten free options will also be discussed.
  • Healthy Cooking on a Shoestring Budget: Cooking and eating healthy does not mean you have to break the bank. With planning, and the tips and recipes from this class, you can easily add nutritious snacks and meals to your diet while sticking to your food budget.
  • Get Creative with Beans: Enjoy these nutrition powerhouses at breakfast, lunch and dinner! Discover different types of beans and how to incorporate the inexpensive and nutritious food in your meals. This class will change how you see beans forever!

Cooking Classes Available only in Spring/Summer:

  • Farmers Market Finds: Kale, parsnips, kohlrabi, beets and leeks, oh, my! What’s a cook to do? This educational class will illustrate techniques, tips and tricks on how to incorporate farmers’ market foods in your diet.
  • Cooking with Herbs and Spices: Reduce salt in your cooking and have fun with new flavors! Get tips on using fresh and dried herbs, spices and learn how pairing flavors with healthy foods can take your meals to the next level.
  • Salad as a meal: On the side isn’t the only way to enjoy a salad! Why not feature it as the main course? Be inspired to think outside the box and learn new ways to make healthy salads and dressings that are easy, delicious and filling.
  • Fresh, Fast and Fabulous: With every season, there are foods we love-recipes that capitalize on fresh ingredients and in-season flavors. Learn how to make delicious and healthy seasonal dishes in under 30 minutes.

Cooking Classes Available only in Fall & Winter

  • Sauces of Italy 101: Tired of jarred marinara sauce? You can make a variety of easy and delicious Italian sauces right in your own kitchen. Leave with recipes to add to your collection- You’ll never be bored with noodles again!
  • Soups On! 101: There’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of soup to warm you up on a chilly day. Participants will learn the basics of soup making and how to make delicious homemade stocks and broths. Once you master a few techniques from this class, you’ll be able make a variety of different soups from scratch.
  • Quick Soups: This is the second class in a series of two. Participants are encouraged to attend the Soups On! 101 class before signing up for this class. After learning the basics of making stocks and broths in the 101 level class, participants will use those skills to learn how to create delicious and healthy 30 minute soups. Many of the recipes use leftovers or staples from your panty.
  • Creative Ways to Use Root Vegetables: Introduce new flavors to your cold-weather dishes! Use hardy root vegetables like parsnip, rutabaga, beets, carrots and potatoes in fun, new ways.

1 hour Adult Nutrition Presentations:

$55 for an hour-long group presentation

  • Making the Most of Your Food Dollar: Eating & Cooking on a shoestring budget.
  • Staying Healthy in a Hectic World
  • Tips for Dining Out
  • Virtual Grocery Store Tour: Learn how to better navigate the grocery store to make healthier choices.
  • Eating Healthy and Delicious the Mediterranean Way
For more information or to schedule a class:
Dawn Davies | | (616) 632-7296

Fact Sheets

Contact Us

Health Department


700 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Public Health Clinics

(616) 632-7100

(616) 632-7083

Mark Hall, MD, MPH
Medical Director

Adam London, RS, MPA
Administrative Health Officer

Animal Shelter

740 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Monday-Friday: 9:30am-6:30pm
Closed for Lunch:
Monday-Friday: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Adoptions end 1 hour prior to closing.
Closed Saturday & Sunday

(616) 632-7300

(616) 632-7324

Environmental Health Services

700 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 632-6900

(616) 632-6892

Employee Recognition

Nominate a Kent County Employee for Quality Service!