Cooking Shows That Feature Healthy Foods Can Encourage Kids To Eat Healthier

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  • Kids who watch a child-oriented cooking show that features healthy foods were 2.7 times more likely to make healthy food choices
  • Cooking programs are a promising tool that can promote positive changes in children’s food-related preferences
  • Getting children to eat healthy foods is important as this helps ensure that they get the essential nutrients for growth and development

Children are more likely to eat healthy foods after watching cooking shows that feature healthy foods, findings of a new study show.

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Researchers found that kids who watch a child-oriented cooking show that features healthy foods were 2.7 times more likely to make healthy food choices compared with their peers who watched a different episode of the same TV show that features unhealthy food.

In the study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior in November 2019, researchers asked children between the ages 10 and 12 to watch 10 minutes of a public TV cooking program for children. The participants were then offered a snack after the show as a reward for their participation.

The researchers observed that the children who watched the healthy cooking program were more likely to choose healthy snacks such as apples and cucumbers over the unhealthy options such as chips and salted mini-pretzels.

Study researcher Frans Folkvord, from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, said that the findings of the study show that cooking programs are a promising tool that can promote positive changes in children’s food-related preferences, attitudes and behaviors.

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The study suggests that the visual prominence of healthier options in food choice and portion size on cooking programs get children who watch these shows to crave for healthier choices.

“These findings indicated a priming effect of the foods the children were exposed to, showing that nutrition education guided by reactivity theory can be promising,” the researchers wrote in their study.

“Cooking programs may affect the food choices of children and could be an effective method in combination with other methods to improve their dietary intake.”

Getting children to eat healthy foods is important as this helps ensure that they get the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

Poor dietary habits among children and adolescents can have negative impact on their achievement, weight, dental health, as well as growth and development.