If you want your kids to make healthier food choices, have them watch more television – certain cooking shows, anyway.
A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that children who watched a cooking program that featured healthy foods were more than twice as likely to choose them for a snack than children who watched a cooking show featuring unhealthy foods.
“If you promote healthy foods to children, it can be beneficial to improve their intake,” said Dr. Frans Folkvord, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the School of Humanities and Digital Science at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.
“For parents, it’s important that they promote healthy foods during day time by different methods, and one of the methods is these cooking programs.”
Researchers asked 125 children between the ages of 10 and 12 to watch 10 minutes of a Dutch TV show designed for children. Some watched a clip featuring healthy foods, while others watched a video featuring less healthy, energy-dense foods.
To ensure the children’s perception of the foods was how the authors intended, children in each group were asked to indicate on a 10-point scale how healthy they perceived the foods shown in the cooking program, ranging from zero (very unhealthy) to 10 (very healthy).