London: Children who watched a cooking show featuring healthy food were nearly three times more likely to make a healthy food choice than those who watched a different episode showing unhealthy dishes, a study says. Researchers, including those from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, asked 125 children between the ages of 10 and 12 to watch 10 minutes of a Dutch public television cooking program designed for children.
As a reward for participating, the kids were offered a snack, which they could choose from a set of options — some which were healthier than the others. The findings, revealed that Children who watched the healthy program were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack options — an apple, or a few pieces of cucumber — than one of the unhealthy options — a handful of chips, or a handful of salted mini-pretzels. “The findings from this study indicate cooking programs can be a promising tool for promoting positive changes in children’s food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviours,” said study lead author Frans Folkvord from Tilburg University.
Earlier studies had found that children were more likely to eat nutrient-rich foods if they were involved in preparing the dish, but the availability of ready-prepared foods, and a lack of training to prepare fresh foods led to a drop in cooking skills among kids, the researchers said.