Free healthy cooking demonstrations are planned for today at three participating Independence stores.

The three events are:

• Curt’s Famous Meats, 10101 E. Truman Road, from noon to 2 p.m.

• 7-Eleven, 201 E. U.S. 24, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• La Plaza Market, 11004 E. Winner Road, from 5 to 7 p.m.

They are sponsored by the Independence Health Department through its Building a Healthier Independence initiative. The goal is to promote healthy eating.

The demonstrations will be conducted by representatives of the University of Missouri Extension. Each offers healthy recipes, along with the opportunity to share ideas about healthy food.

Independence Health Director Larry Jones said the goal of the events is to make it easier for residents to prepare healthy meals by improving their access to healthy food choices, such as fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain foods and healthy beverages and snacks.

“Our hope is that this will reduce the root cause - a poor diet - that often leads to chronic diseases,” Jones said in a news release. “Our goal is to give residents a health-focused approach to cooking by improving their access to healthy food and teaching them how to cook that food.”

Jones also said now is a good time to hold these demonstrations because of the wide variety of available fresh produce.

For additional information about the BHI initiative, call 816-325-7185 or visit  .