Youth gain skills with educational cooking kits during Mediterranean diet month

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

Ill Extension has designed educational cooking kits to inspire the inner chef and educate youth about the Mediterranean eating plan. Register youth now for this May take-n-make program. This project is ideal for families to work on together or for youth with cooking experience.

Youth will learn about the Mediterranean region and how to make a variety of vibrant salads inspired by these cuisines.

The Mediterranean eating plan is not a specific diet but an eating pattern as diverse as the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. In general, the foods emphasized are nutrient-rich and meals are based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and olive oil. The plan also promotes sharing meals and being physical active. Due to its health benefits and flexibility, this eating pattern has been ranked the number one diet for the past three years by the U.S. News & World Report.

The cost is $5 per 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 Milan, Viola and Galva, Ill. Register early to reserve your cooking kit, supplies are limited. Register online at or call our office at 309-756-9978. The deadline to register is May 3rd.

SOURCE: Kristin Bogdonas is a University of Illinois Extension, Nutrition and Wellness Educator. For more information about upcoming programs, visit