REED CITY — Finding a good, homemade, nutritious meal for a family for less than $10 is a challenge.

However, an upcoming Michigan State University Extension Cooking Matters class aims to help more Osceola County residents use healthier ingredients to make their meals.

“We’re going to help participants learn how to take the raw ingredients from the outer aisles of grocery stores to make their meals,” said Renee Sanders, MSU Extension nutrition instructor. “The aim is for lower fat, lower calories and less sodium. Plus, it has to taste good.”

The six-week cooking class runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays, beginning Oct. 7, at the Meadowview Village Community Room.

The course also will teach home chefs about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate program, which aims to make people more conscious about finding a healthy eating style by focusing on variety, amount and nutrition.

“We’re going to be making meals based on Choose My Plate,” she said. “We’re going to learn the details about fruits and vegetables, whole grains, how to choose the right whole grains and choosing low-fat proteins and dairy products.”

While Sanders said the focus of her job through the USDA is for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and those who receive benefits, the Cooking Matters class is for any adults who want to learn how to cook healthier meals.

“We’ve been given grant money to buy the ingredients for the class for them to cook,” she said. “Then, they’ll receive those ingredients and they can recreate what we cooked in class and build the recipes at home.

“If you can come learn how to make a great meal at a low cost for family, yourself or neighbors for free, why wouldn’t you do it?”

The class runs for two hours, Sanders said, with 40 minutes spent educating participants about the ingredients they will be using and 80 minutes cooking the ingredients.

Sanders said Cooking Matters is a national program, and she currently is teaching four ongoing classes in Evart, two for teens and two for adults.

Those interested in taking the course should register by calling Sanders at (231) 832-6141.

“Registration is requested so I know I can have materials for them,” she said. “We will accept more people the first and second week, but if more are interested, they will have to be put on a waiting list.”

For more information about other MSU Extension programs in Osceola County, visitmsue.anr.msu.edu/county/info/osceola.