PrepAbility: Class Empowers Students to Be Their Own Chefs

By: Andr??a Stanford

Looking to spice up your culinary skills or simply get better acclimated in your kitchen?  If so then the UPMC BodyChangers program may be the right place to start.

UPMC BodyChangersis a social support group that focuses on healthy and attainable weight management. The program was created by the medical co-directors, Jeffrey Gusenoff, M.D., and Vicki March, M.D., of UPMC’s Life After Weight Loss Program and UPMC’s Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, respectively,  and is designed to  educate members about the importance of both nutrition and lifestyle changes during their weight loss journey.

In collaboration with Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, BodyChangers recently launched a hands-on class called PrepAbility, which teaches members how to “prep” nutritional meals and gives them the “ability” to cook the meals during a scheduled session.

Each month, participants in the PrepAbility sessions gather together to  learn how to prepare a menu of three meals that have been selected by Liz Ruder, Ph.D., R.D., and students enrolled in the School’s clinical dietetics and nutrition major. Under Dr. Ruder’s guidance, participants work in groups to slice and dice ingredients, preheat ovens, stir bubbling pots and pans and exchange cooking tips while making their recipes. At the end of each session, participants take home nine individually portioned meals (three separate portions of each dish).

In a recent PrepAbility class, the theme focused on “Reinventing Comfort Food” and BodyChangers members learned how to prepare the following dishes:

  • Mini meatloaves with garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes
  • Stuffed pepper soup
  • Sicilian style rotini with spinach and golden raisins
Watch the PrepAbility videoto see the chefs in action and visit the UPMC BodyChangers website to learn more about other wellness programs and events.