The involvement of children in the preparation of meals has positive repercussions compared to children who are simply served the meal prepared by a parent.
The question of how to get children to like and eat vegetables torments many parents and health professionals. Researchers from the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne have examined the effect of involving children in meal preparation on consumption.
The experiment concerns 47 children aged 6 to 10 years. In one case, the children had to prepare the meal consisting of pasta, breaded chicken, cauliflower and salad, with the assistance of a parent. In the other case, the meal with the same components was prepared by the parent alone, and served to the children.
The results, published in the journal Appetite, reveal that children who cook ate significantly more salad, chicken and calories than those who were served. Between preparation and eating, children who cook also feel more valued and have a stronger sense of control.
The authors conclude that involving children in the preparation of balanced meals could be a valid strategy for increasing vegetable intake, while drawing attention to the importance of serving adequate portions.
van der Horst K. et al: Involving children in meal preparation. Effects on food intake. Appetite,79C: 18-24.ce.