If you thought that watching cooking shows could only help you come across different recipes to try, you're wrong. They have a lot more to offer. As per new research, children are three times more likely to make better food choices if they watch a cooking show featuring healthy meals. The Dutch study was also able to find that this might turn into a habit that stays with them even through adulthood.
Lead author Frans Folkvord from Tilburg University in the Netherlands described cooking shows as a, “promising tool for promoting positive changes in children's food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviours.” "The likelihood of consuming fruits and vegetables among youth and adults is strongly related to knowing how to prepare most fruits and vegetables,” Folkvord said.
The study suggested that cooking shows were able to provide examples to young children about how they could consume various foods and this helped build interest in them. The author's team then asked 125 10-to-12-year-olds at five elementary schools in the Netherlands to watch child-oriented cooking shows on public TV.
While some of them were shown programs that featured healthy foods, others were shown programs that featured unhealthy foods. The children were then offered snacks post watching the shows. It was found that children who watched the healthy food show were 2.7 times more likely to pick up a healthy snack like apples or cucumber slices as compared to children who watched the unhealthy food show.
The author also suggested that the visual representation and the portion sizes of these foods helped the children crave these healthy options and also showed them how they could act on these cravings. “Increased cooking skills among children can positively influence their consumption of fruit and vegetables in a manner that will persist into adulthood," Folkvord said.
"Positive peer and teacher modeling can encourage students to try new foods for which they exhibited distaste previously,” Folkvord said. Stay tuned for more updates.