If you’re serious about combating childhood obesity and raising healthy children, here’s one easy tip: teach your kids to cook.
A study by City University London found that cooking classes aimed at both school students and adults had a positive impact on eating habits, with many kids saying they ate more fruits and vegetables later on.
Jacqui Lawson, a teacher of food technology at Enterprise South Liverpool Academy who had her sixth-grade students take a cooking class, later reported, “They were trying things they hadn’t tried before, like Spanish cooking, Thai food and how to make burgers from scratch … At first they were skeptical, but they learned to cook restaurant quality meals and the experience also taught them about working as a team and independently — lots of skills useful for later in life.”
Rob Rees, chairman of the School Food Trust, a U.K. charity that advises the government on school meals, children’s food and related skills, says all kids should have the chance to learn to cook.
“Fundamentally, being able to cook is a life skill which helps children grow into healthier adults,” he said, “and that’s why our evidence to the national curriculum review calls for practical cooking to be compulsory for all children.”
A similar U.K. study found that learning to cook improved children’s recognition of healthier foods and actually made them want to eat those foods more often.