While child development experts might throw shade at parents for allowing their kids to watch too much TV, a new study finds that TV shows that feature healthy foods may be the perfect recipe for encouraging healthier food choices as they grow older.
A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, discovered that kids that watched a child-focused cooking show highlighting healthy food were over 2 ½ times more likely to choose healthy food compared to those who watched the same show with a different episode featuring unhealthy food.
The results of this study suggest that cooking programs may be a potential tool for encouraging positive behaviors in children’s food-related choices, behaviors and attitudes.
The research was done at the children’s schools, which could be a promising way for kids to learn healthy eating behaviors. Previous studies have found that children are more inclined to eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables if they were included in making the dish. Modern dependence on ready-made, processed foods and limited modeling of behaviors by parents making fresh foods have led to a decline in cooking skills among children.
During childhood and adolescence, poor food habits have several negative effects on health and wellness indicators such as reaching and maintaining health weights, growth and development patterns, and dental health. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is strongly linked to preparation and cooking skills of these foods in children through adulthood.
Children and teens can be influenced to eat more fruits and vegetables in the following ways:
- Bring kids to a garden, farmer’s market or grocery store at a young age to teach them where food comes from and which foods are healthy choices.
- Allow kids to help grow and harvest food in a home or school garden.
- Involve children and teens in preparing and cooking meals.
- Be a role model! Eat fruits and vegetables in front of your kids instead of highly processed snack foods.
- Use the “one bite” rule with kids that dislike new foods.
- Don’t use food as a reward for finishing their plates.
- Watch food programs that encourage healthy foods with kids to discuss it with them.
- Serve an unfamiliar healthy food with a familiar one.
References: Frans Folkvord, Doeschka Anschütz, Marieke Geurts. Watching TV Cooking Programs: Effects on Actual Food Intake Among Children. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.09.016
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.
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