To evaluate the effect of a community-based, experiential cooking and nutrition education program on consumption of fruits and vegetables and associated intermediate outcomes in students from low-income families.
It was hypothesized that a (1) school-based, integrated cooking and nutrition education program facilitated by trained chef-instructors paired with technical support from program managers would be an effective method to improve students' fruit and vegetable exposure, liking, and consumption; and (2) that effects would be accompanied by increases in nutrition knowledge, cooking self-efficacy, and communication to the family about healthy eating.
This was a 1-year (school year 2011– 2012) evaluation of a community based nutrition and cooking education program (Common Threads) that has been offered since 2003. Students participated in a 10-week after-school (10 x 2 hours) cooking and nutrition education course taught in the school kitchen by professional chef-instructors who completed standardized training. Chefs were supported by program managers who managed the running of the program, and volunteers during cooking sessions. Each lesson consisted of 30 minutes of lecture and discussion of nutrition principles and cultural awareness, 75 minutes of cooking instruction and meal preparation, and 15 minutes of meal sharing and conversation. Lesson content was designed to teach the recommended composition of a healthy meal, with focus on fruit and vegetables. Each meal prepared included fruit and vegetables. Pre-post surveys evaluated student nutrition knowledge, cooking self-efficacy, fruit and vegetable liking and consumption.
Journal article: https://www.jneb.org/article/S1499-4046(16)30713-8/fulltext.