Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 6-50 University Terrace, 8303 112 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2T4: Centre for Health Promotion Studies and Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Submitted 28 September 2011: Final revision received 8 March 2012: Accepted 15 March 2012

Encouraging Children to Cook

Authors: Yen Li Chu1, Anna Farmer, Christina Fung, Stefan Kuhle, Kate E. Storey, Paul J. Veugelers

Encouraging children to be more involved in home meal preparation could be an effective health promotion strategy. These findings suggest that the incorporation of activities teaching children how to prepare simple and healthy meals in health promotion programmes could potentially lead to improvement in dietary habits.

This research shows that children who are more involved in the cooking process demonstrate a greater inclination towards consuming healthier food choices, and far more whole foods. One in three children indicated that they assisted with the preparation of at least one meal each day. Another third of all children surveyed indicated that they still participated in the kitchen, but less often - between one and three times in a given week. Fewer than 13 percent of children had no experience in the kitchen.

As was expected, children overall preferred fruits to vegetables, but an important pattern arose in the variation of this preference. Children who regularly assisted in kitchen activities both ate, and enjoyed, both fruits and vegetables more. They were also able to more assuredly communicate the value of these choices, indicating that over the natural course of food preparation, children were not just being taught how to cook, but also being taught an important lesson about the benefits of health-positive choices.

Encouraging Children to Cook (report)

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