Obesity Solutions to open kitchen in Taylor Place to encourage healthy eating

(Amanda LaCasse/DD)
A kitchen is set to open in the next two weeks between Devil’s Greens and Devil’s Den that the creators hope will encourage healthy eating for ASU students and community members. (Amanda LaCasse/DD)

A multi-purpose kitchen space is set to open on the ground floor of Taylor Place Oct. 1 for ASU students and downtown Phoenix community members to facilitate healthier eating.

The kitchen is being created by Obesity Solutions, a program partnership between ASU and the Mayo Clinic that promotes nutritious diets by installing projects “that work for real people in the real world,” according to the program’s website.

“Building this kitchen in downtown Phoenix was ideal for us,” said Deborah Williams, associate director of Obesity Solutions. “We hope to make opportunities to engage with people interested in health.”

The Obesity Solutions kitchen located between Devil’s Greens and Devil’s Den at 120 E. Taylor St. will hold semester-long classes teaching people how to cook healthier meals.

This is the first time Obesity Solutions is building a kitchen for people to cook healthier food, Williams said, and members hope for it to make an impact in the community.

Williams also said they had interest in partnering with the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA, local libraries, and other ASU colleges, including the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the College of Public Programs.

“We envision this place to be an energizing hub where people in downtown are supporting healthy environments,” Williams said.

According to Williams, Obesity Solutions “cuts through the clutter” of health information that people receive day-to-day.

Kathryn Eaton, principle strategist of Obesity Solutions, said she can relate to students’ lives in college and fully understands the struggles of eating healthy under a time constraint and low budget.

“I remember living in the dorms and I lived off juice boxes and pop tarts,” Eaton said. “There is a disconnect with students and them understanding how to eat healthy on campus.”

Eaton said she believes the kitchen will help Downtown students learn about alternative ways to make healthier food with the resources they have. In addition, she hopes that citizens in downtown Phoenix take advantage of the opportunities that Obesity Solutions kitchen plans to offer.

“We need to acknowledge that some people are money- and time-poor,” Eaton said. “Those factors contribute to obesity in people. They don’t have hours to make a nutritious meal and we want to try to provide a way for people to make a nutritious meal.”

Some students that know about the Obesity Solutions kitchen are excited to learn how to lead healthier lifestyles by cooking wholesome food.

“It is a problem because when you’re alone and in a hurry people tend to grab anything,” health sciences freshman Adilene Montesinos said. “If they have that kitchen available then it’ll help them make smarter decisions.”

In the future, Obesity Solutions plans to hold various events to promote the kitchen, including bringing a local celebrity chef to the Downtown Phoenix Public Market to host a lesson on how to use produce efficiently.

For now, Williams said she believes that Obesity Solutions kitchen has potential to be a local hotspot and central area for those willing to lead a nutritious life.

“By having this kitchen we can engage the community and teach them first-hand what they can do,” Eaton said.

Contact the reporter at samantha.incorvaia@asu.edu