Cooking to Quit classes offer tasty, healthy alternatives to smoking

Many people who smoke are looking for a way to quit. A new program from the Canadian Cancer Society aims to help people replace their bad habit with some healthy habits.

The Cooking to Quit program, launching February 2019 in Stratford and Summerside, provides smokers with training in cooking and nutrition as a way to ease the discomfort of leaving nicotine behind.

“Cooking to Quit is a tobacco cessation focused program. It is for anyone who has recently quit smoking or who is looking to quit smoking,” says Jayna Stokes, provincial lead for the Canadian Cancer Society. “One thing that a lot of people who are looking at quitting smoking are worried about is gaining weight as a result. They worry about eating more as a way of dealing with cravings. What we hope to do with the Cooking to Quit is to teach people some basic skills they can use in the kitchen and to give them some skills on buying and preparing nutritious and affordable meals.”

Supported with a Wellness Grant from the PEI Department of Health and Wellness, the Cooking to Quit program is being offered in conjunction with dietitians from the local Sobeys grocery stores. Sessions will include an introduction to some of seasonings and spices available at the grocery - something Stokes said is often of particular interest to ex-smokers whose sense of taste is improving.

Certified tobacco educators will also be part of the program, providing guidance and support to people quitting smoking. Participants will be offered a “quit kit” to assist with the process.

“We’re offering people a chance to learn a bit about cooking and nutrition, and it’s a way to think about healthy behaviours that they could adopt instead of smoking,” Stokes said “It’s not about exotic foods or high-cost foods. It’s about using our basics and making healthy choices.”

Sessions will be offered in Stratford, February 4, 11, and 25 and March 4 and in Summerside February 15, and 22 and March 1 and 8.

Contact the Cancer Society at (902) 566-4007 to register for the Cooking to Quit program.

“You don’t have to come alone, bring peer support. This is something you can do together, come on out,” she said.

The Wellness Grant Program provides funding to support initiatives and projects guided by principles and strategies of health promotion in the following priority areas of the PEI Wellness Strategy. 

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