Involving Children in Home Meal Preparation helps them make Healthier Food Choices
It is a constant struggle for the parents to make their children pick healthy foods rather than gorging on junk food. Scientists have also been trying hard to find why children prefer junk food over healthy food. Now, a new study conducted by the researchers from the University of Alberta may come as a ray of hope for the hapless parents. According to the study, which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Public Health Nutrition, children are more likely to make healthier food choices when they are involved in home meal preparation.
The study involved a survey of students studying in grade 5 in 151 schools across Alberta, Canada. The study analyzed kids’ experience with cooking. The children were asked about the number of times they helped with meal preparation at home and were asked about their preference for twelve fruits and vegetables on a three point Likert-type scale. The children were also analyzed on the basis of their confidence in selecting and eating healthy foods, both at home and in school.
It was seen that almost one-third of the children helped with meal preparation at home at least once a day. Another one-third reported that they helped with cooking at least three times a week while one fourth of the children helped their parents in the kitchen at least once a month. Only 12.4% children did not help in the kitchen at all. The researcher observed that generally children preferred fruits over vegetables, but children who helped in meal preparation seemed to prefer both. In fact, children helping in the kitchen were ten times more likely to prefer vegetables compared to children who stayed out of the kitchen.
The researchers have opined that involving children in meal preparation could be an effective strategy to promote healthy eating habits. Not only should the children be encouraged to help in the kitchen at home, but they should also be involved in cooking classes and cooking clubs at school. This would boost their confidence in making healthier food choices.
Sunday, October 12, 2014