A while back I had the chance to speak at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami. I was asked to go talk about some of our recent studies on Just returned from the South Beach Wine and Food Fesitival in Miami. I was asked to go talk about some of our recent studies on how involving children in cooking influences what they eat.
A huge proponent of teaching kid’s to cook is Food Network’s, Rachel Ray, who’s started a foundation with this purpose. After she talked about the importance of cooking in her childhood, I was to share present some of the evidence as to how involving your kids in meal preparation influences.
When children help prepare a meal, they become creators.They become less likely, then, to become a food critic. Its very hard for a child to “diss” something he or she helped create. Is there evidence that this actually changes a family meal?
In a pilot study we recently finished at my Cornell Food and Brand Lab, we examined 119 households –half which encouraged their kids to help prepare family meals and half who didn’t.
There were interesting differences. Families with junior food preparers were more likely to 1) eat as a family, 2) eat fruits and vegetables, 3) eat a salad, 4) offer a blessing, 5) drinkmilk, and 6) eat desserts.
Part of what ids going on in some families is that bringing the kids into the kitchen also helps make the meal a bit more special than it otherwise would have been.What are ways you’ve encouraged your children to help out with a family meal?
For 30 years my Lab and I have focused on discovering secret answers to help people live better lives. Some of these relate to health and happiness (and often to food). Please share whatever you find useful.
This video of one of my post-docs gives a flavor of one type of research that we've done: