NYSOFA YouTube cooking series for Older Adults surpasses 1 million views

Jan. 15—ALBANY — The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), in partnership with the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Media Services Center (MSC), announced that NYSOFA's monthly cooking demonstration series has reached 1 million views on YouTube.

"What's Cooking with NYSOFA" also streams live each month on Facebook, where it generated more than 980,000 views during its most recent 2022-2023 season. The fourth season of "What's Cooking" is set for a January premiere.

As part of its role in the statewide SNAP-Ed NY program, NYSOFA launched "What's Cooking" in 2021 as a Zoom livestream from an iPad hosted by Registered Dietician Wendy Beckman.


NYSOFA enlisted MSC the following year to transform its second season into a full-fledged production with helpful graphics and close-ups of food preparation, accompanied by a statewide marketing campaign.

"What's Cooking" has a greater impact than ever, helping older adults learn more about affordable ways to add vegetables into dishes, vary protein while cooking, keep portion sizes in check, and more.

"During the pandemic, the SNAP-Ed nutrition program had to quickly pivot away from in-person classes, so going virtual was a great way to reach older adults who were encouraged to stay at home," Beckman said.

"We were hopeful that the food demonstrations would engage people who were feeling isolated to try some healthy recipes. I am amazed by what we've accomplished since then, building a homegrown program into a world-class production."

"Even though the show's main goal is to help older New Yorkers prepare healthier meals and better understand nutrition, what's great about it is that anyone can jump in and learn something new," MSC producer Joe Walsh said.

"We're really excited to be a part of the project, but even more thrilled that so many people have taken to it."

Episodes of 'What's Cooking' typically run around 15 minutes, making them more accessible and easier to follow than a full-length cooking show on broadcast television. The whole series is always free to watch on YouTube and new episodes air on the last Friday of each month at 12:30 p.m. on Facebook.

NYSOFA's monthly SNAP-Ed NY nutrition programs also include a livestream called "Ask The Experts: Nutrition Edition," hosted by NYSOFA Registered Dietitian Lisbeth Irish and guests. The program invites viewers to ask nutrition-related questions that concern older adults.

About SNAP-Ed NY

SNAP-Ed NY is a free statewide program that teaches people how to shop for and cook healthy meals on a limited budget. It is part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides benefits to help income-eligible individuals pay for food.

NYSOFA and its network of local programs provide SNAP-Ed nutritional education to older adults at the statewide and regional levels in partnership with the New York State Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). These programs are overseen by a team of Registered Dietitians and nutrition education experts who specialize in nutrition for older adults.

According to the National Council on Aging, more than five million older Americans lacked sufficient access to healthy food in 2020, and that number has only grown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a rapidly aging population. SNAP-Ed NY is one of many state efforts to address older New Yorkers' nutritional health needs.

"We applaud our partners at NYSOFA and OGS for creating an engaging and accessible platform for older adults, SNAP recipients, and all New Yorkers to learn more about their food choices, maximize their resources, and improve their health and well-being," OTDA Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said.

"'What's Cooking with NYSOFA' and other successful SNAP-Ed NY outreach programs help maximize the impact of Governor Hochul's work to expand access to affordable, nutritious, locally grown food in underserved communities across the state."