A review of cooking classes for children has shown that one of the benefits of the classes or cooking at home may be better eating habits for children who cook.
Kids who are involved in cooking seem to be positively influenced toward making healthy food choices, preferences, and behaviors. The research did not examine the long term effects of such programs, but the findings suggest that teaching kids to cook helps them develop healthy habits that last over a lifetime.
Derek Hirsch is the lead author of the study. He has worked with a cooking education program called Food Explorers at the Minnesota Heart Institute Foundation. “It is important to expose children to healthy foods in a positive way,” he says. “Creating habits and behaviors at this age is the most important part of it.”
Childhood obesity rates are rapidly rising. In part, the trend has been caused by a significant decrease in the amount of meals prepared at home since the 1980s, and an increase in restaurant meals, fast food, and takeout. Restaurant meals are more calorie dense and less nutritious.