ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - Nov 29, 2011) - As students return home for the holidays, fitness instructor Hollis Ledbetter, mother of four adult children and author of "OMG! I'm In College and I Never Learned to Cook" (, notes the irony of colleges that train kids to become engineers, lawyers and doctors who -- without mom's help -- are still likely to burn down the kitchen while trying to boil water.

"How can you consider yourself educated and sophisticated if you don't know how to cook a decent meal?" asks Ledbetter. In this economy, she adds, college kids who can prepare their own meals are more likely to be able to afford to eat nutritiously.

Here's how parents can help their culinary-challenged children:

  • Just Teach the Basics - You don't have to teach your children how to make eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce from scratch. Start with boiling water, broiling meats and making pasta that doesn't stick to the pot. Everything else, they should learn on their own.

  • Don't Coddle Them - You'll save money and they'll eat better if you encourage them to buy groceries instead of eating fast food. Hold the line on the food budget you give them and they'll hold the line on a good diet.

Her tips for kids include:

  • Know What Is -- and Isn't -- "Cooking" - Microwaving a Hot Pocket is not cooking. Cooking involves taking actual vegetables, fruits and meats, and preparing them to form a snack or a meal.

  • Safety - There's a reason why some foods are refrigerated and why some are not. Learn the difference. You don't want to learn the hard way when you try to put mayonnaise that was left out all night on a turkey sandwich and wind up in the ER.

"If you can help encourage your kids to prepare their own meals, they'll eat healthier and be happy in the kitchen for the rest of their lives," Ledbetter says. "And, I think that's a more valuable lesson than they'll ever learn in school."

About Hollis Ledbetter

Hollis Ledbetter is married with four children (one still in college) and six grandchildren. She worked as a fitness instructor for the YMCA teaching aerobics, pre-natal exercises and woman's strength training. For the last 17 years, she has worked in real estate and for the last four, she has been writing cookbooks.

Contact Information:

Ginny Grimsley