Have you or your family made any New Year’s resolutions this year? Often times resolutions focus on our health. If limiting snacks or just eating a healthier diet is among your family’s New Year’s resolutions you might wonder about the impact of media on our food choices – both good and bad. Cooking shows are very popular and can focus on a type of cuisine, baking, or even tips for streamlining your family’s meal preparation.
A recent study from the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior gives new insight into how television cooking shows influence the eating habits of children.
- 125 children ages 10 to 12 from the Netherlands
- Study participants viewed a ten minute child-oriented cooking program
- The study was conducted in a school environment
- Study participants were offered a snack to thank them for participating
- Snack offerings included healthy options such as apples and cucumbers as well as less healthy options such as chips and pretzels.
It is not surprising that some of the children who watched the cooking segment featuring healthy food options chose to eat a healthy snack. What is compelling is the magnitude of the effect.
Children shown the program featuring food preparation with healthy options were 2.7 times more likely to pick a healthy snack as a reward versus those who watched a program featuring unhealthy foods.
Study authors also noted that the cooking programs provided exposure to new healthy food options to children and their families. The cooking shows modeled portion control and showcased healthier food options in a positive light.
Make Healthy Eating a Family Activity
Research has shown that children are more likely to eat (or at least try) fruits and vegetables if they help prepare them. Cooking healthy meals for your family will require more preparation. Remember to involve your children in grocery shopping and meal planning too!
Poor dietary choices in childhood and adolescence can negatively impact health for a lifetime. Selecting healthy food options help our families maintain healthy weights and minimize the risk of diseases related to obesity.
Just like good food choices, remember to make good media choices for your family, for better health in the New Year and beyond.