Put on a fun cooking show that highlights healthy food recipes for kids

Television programs featuring healthy foods can be a key ingredient in leading children to make healthier food choices now and into adulthood. A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found kids who watched a child-oriented cooking show featuring healthy food were 2.7 times more likely to make a healthy food choice following the programs than before seeing the healthy food prepared in a kid-friendly fashion.

Researchers asked 125 10- to 12-year-olds, (with parental consent), at five schools in the Netherlands to watch 10 minutes of a Dutch public television cooking program designed for children, and then offered them a snack as a reward for participating. Children who watched the healthy program were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack options — an apple or a few pieces of cucumber — than one of the unhealthy options — a handful of chips or a handful of salted mini-pretzels.

“The findings from this study indicate cooking programs can be a promising tool for promoting positive changes in children’s food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviors. Providing nutritional education in school environments may have an important positive influence on the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors of children,” said lead author Frans Folkvord, Ph.D., of Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands.

Timely advice for the new year – get on the healthy food bandwagon with your kids as part of whole family activity!