Get in the Kitchen with Your Kids! Study Shows Cooking Classes Improve Children’s Nutrition Knowledge

Looking for courses or camps for your kids? Here’s why you should check out cooking classes.

By: Amanda Mushro
Family mixing cookie dough at home

1305309252

Family mixing cookie dough at home

Photo by: MoMo Productions

MoMo Productions

Is there a way to get your kids to try new foods, make better food choices, and help in the kitchen? A cooking class may be the answer. The best part? Your kids don’t have to leave your kitchen to receive all the benefits, and there’s a good reason for you to join in on the class too.

According to the study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, a program in Michigan called Flint Families Cook was created during the pandemic. It was designed for children between the ages of 8 and 18 and offered virtual cooking classes. The classes ran over five weeks and kids had over seven hours of live instruction.

When researchers looked at these courses and the kids that participated, they found that the courses were more successful than expected. Flint Families Cook was able to reach youth from families of low-income states and kids learned:

  • Self-efficacy in cooking skills
  • Nutrition knowledge
  • Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Also, it wasn’t just the kids that were learning more in the kitchen. Their parents were getting into the cooking fun and gaining new skills as well. Researchers say this is why the program was so successful — kids and parents were learning, cooking, and sitting down to enjoy meals together.

"One very important part of the class that is happening because of the virtual platform is that families are participating in the classes together as opposed to children participating in the class individually, apart from their family," says lead researcher Dr. Amy Saxe-Custack. "We started to see parents becoming much more involved in the education and sitting at the table once the meals were prepared for a family dinner."

Researchers say kids and their families learned proper techniques for using knives and measuring ingredients, as well as learned how to saute, roast, and bake from a chef. As the chef was teaching, a dietitian focused on nutrition and the health benefits of each food.

As kids were learning, the chef was giving alternate tools the kids could use if they didn’t have the correct cup, spoon, or gadget, and the dietician offered up different foods kids and their families could try.

While the Flint Families Cook program currently has a waitlist, there are plenty of cooking classes online that you and your kids can take advantage of. If it means you have a helper in the kitchen, mealtime might just become a little easier and tastier in your home.

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