I’ve previously written about how you can eat healthy while living at home and the importance of discovering your passion for cooking. I’m a firm believer that every child would benefit from learning how to cook and a recently published study went out to examine the effect of children’s involvement in meal preparation on their food and vegetable intake (1).
A between-subject experiment was conducted with 47 children aged 6 to 10 years.
In condition 1 (n = 25), children prepared a lunch meal (pasta, breaded chicken, cauliflower, and salad) with the assistance of a parent. In condition 2 (n = 22), the meal was prepared by the parent alone.
Children in the child cooks condition ate significantly more salad 41.7 g (76.1%), more chicken 21.8 g (27.0%), and more calories 84.6 kcal (24.4%) than children in the parent cooks condition. Between before cooking and directly after cooking the meal, children in the child cooks condition reported significantly increased feelings of valence (feeling positive) and dominance (feeling in control).
Not only did the children eat more protein and vegetables, they also got a positive feeling and felt more in control. It reminds me of Jamie Oliver’s TED talk where he discussed the importance of learning children how to cook and I reckon it to be an invaluable life skill.
1: Van der horst K, Ferrage A, Rytz A. Involving children in meal preparation. Effects on food intake. Appetite. 2014;