May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, and the University of Illinois Extension and 4-H have a fun opportunity to enhance youth cooking skills.

We are putting together educational cooking kits designed to inspire the inner chef and educate youth about the Mediterranean eating plan. Register youth now for this May program. This project is ideal for families to work on together or for youth with cooking experience.

Youth will learn to make a variety of vibrant salads inspired by the Mediterranean.

When it comes to nutrition and health, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The Mediterranean eating plan is not a specific diet. Instead, it promotes eating various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Additionally, it emphasizes shared meals with family and friends and promotes physical activity. This eating plan has been ranked the number one diet for the past three years by U.S. News & World Report because of its health benefits and flexibility.

The cost is $5 per educational kit. It includes the May "I Made That!" booklet, a sensory evaluation, fun Mediterranean-inspired recipes, extra virgin olive oil to get you started, and a reusable serving bowl for your salads. Kits will be available for pick-up the second week in May at one of our Extension offices in Jo Daviess, Stephenson & Winnebago Counties. Register early to reserve your educational kit while supplies last. Call our office at 815-986-4357or visit online at go.illinois.edu/jswIMadeThat. The registration deadline is Monday, May 3, 2021.

Diane Reinhold is a University of Illinois Extension, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, and registered dietitian. For more about upcoming programming on nutrition and wellness, visit go.illinois.edu/jsw or call (815) 235-4125.