Do you have a picky eater in the house? It can be difficult to introduce new foods to children who are quick to dismiss new flavors and textures, but a study shows that children who watch cooking shows featuring healthy food are more likely to try healthy food.
The study from the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reports that kids who watched other children cooking healthy foods were up to 2.7 times more inclined to eat healthy food, versus kids who watched other children cooking unhealthy foods.
Watching healthy food being prepared on TV also helped children chose more appropriate portion sizes and helped them want to eat what was displayed, likely as a result of the enthusiasm from the children in the shows and the appearance and lighting of the foods.
Additionally, picky eaters were more likely to choose the healthy foods represented on TV even more than children who were not picky eaters. This suggests that the social and shared experience of healthy food on cooking programs appeals to children and can compensate for some personality traits, such as pickiness, which can interfere with the consumption of fresh fruit, vegetables, new protein sources, and new grains.
The skills that children can learn from watching food preparation can also set them up for a better, more self-reliant future. The hustle and bustle of our current world and reliance on pre-packaged foods has made cooking a skill which few people are teaching their children. This study demonstrates that screen time can be beneficial if it helps close some of those gaps and helps them get excited about healthy lifestyles.
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