Total Fitness workshops offered for families

CHAMPAIGN – You'll cook. You'll eat. You'll even get a free gift card to go to the grocery store if you sign up for a new series of workshops called Total Fitness, being offered by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District beginning next week.

The workshops will be held on five Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at district headquarters at 201 W. Kenyon Road, C. The first series runs Jan. 13 through Feb. 10, and is open to eight families. One adult and one child per family can attend.

Topics include basic nutrition and physical fitness, nutritious meal planning, cost-effective shopping, how to use community garden plots and farmers markets to save money on produce, healthful cooking and portion control.

Fire safety will also be included, since so many home fires start in the kitchen, says Nikki Hillier, wellness and health promotion coordinator for the public health district.

The public health district teaches these topics in schools, she said, but the workshops will be a chance to educate the parents making the fitness and food choices so the whole family can benefit.

"Parents often want to make changes and don't know how, or they have certain barriers," Hillier added.

Each week, health educators conducting the workshops will assign participating families goals and assess their progress from week to week, Hillier said.

The workshops will also make use of public health's new test kitchen for the first time, she said.

Participants will try their hand at cooking healthful dishes, and can also bring in a favorite recipe to be modified to promote better family health, Hillier said.

The workshops are open to all Champaign County residents. The charge is $20 for all five sessions, but the fee is waived for families that can't afford it, Hillier said.

Anybody completing at least four sessions will receive a $10 gift card to a grocery store. Participants will also receive portion control plates sized for kids and adults.

Reserve a place as soon as possible by calling 531-2914.

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