Virtual cooking class improves children’s nutrition knowledge — ScienceDaily
Amid parental concerns about poor nutrition and lack of cooking skills among young people in Flint, Michigan, a team of local dietitians, chefs and researchers created Flint Family Kitchen during the COVID-19 pandemic, a program for families with children ages 8-18, offered virtually to children and families in their homes.
This addition to the large collection of teaching materials (GEM) included in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviorpublished by Elsevier, reports that Flint Family Kitchen demonstrated success in reaching youth from low-income families and improving cooking self-efficacy, nutrition knowledge, and self-efficacy for fruit and vegetable consumption among youth participants.
Flint Family Kitchen, co-hosted by a chef and a dietitian, encourages families to cook healthy meals together at home, using local ingredients. Through 7.5 hours of live virtual instruction over five consecutive weeks, kids and families learn the proper techniques for using knives, measuring, sautéing, roasting and cooking from a chef, while that a dietitian focuses on the nutrition and health benefits of specific food groups and nutrients. .
“A very important part of the class that is happening through the virtual platform is that families are participating in lessons together, as opposed to children who are participating in class individually, apart from their families. We have started to see the parents become much more involved in parenting and sitting down at the table after meals are prepared for a family dinner,” said Amy Saxe-Custack, PhD, MPH, RD, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Division of Public Health, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, Flint, MI, USA.
The virtual family format directly engages families to cook healthy meals together and extends the reach of the program to entire households, as well as extended family and friends. In addition to maintaining a growing waiting list of impatient families, Flint Family Kitchen addresses the challenges of preparing and eating healthy foods at home. Such programs are feasible and attractive to communities with similar concerns about child nutrition.