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Beyond Cupcakes: Children in the Kitchen

Many parents shoo children out of the kitchen when it’s time to start cooking. But a new crop of cookbooks and even a video game are trying to change that.

In one study by researchers at Teachers College at Columbia University, nearly 600 children from kindergarten to sixth grade took part in a nutrition curriculum. In addition to the regular lessons about healthful eating, some of them took part in cooking workshops.

Their role in cooking appeared to make them less picky eaters. When children were involved in cooking their own foods, they were more likely to eat those foods in the cafeteria, and even ask for seconds, than children who had not had the cooking class.

“It’s the act of being involved in the cooking of it that is both engaging and a little more intense than just being told about it,” said Isobel Contento, nutrition education professor at Teachers College and a co-author of the study. “It definitely improved their eating patterns.”

Book marketers say the popularity of the Food Network and other cooking shows, along with parents’ increased interest in nutrition and healthful eating for children, has increased demand for family-oriented cookbooks.

These books typically have more photographs and illustrations than the adult kind. The recipes tend to use fewer ingredients and may include entertaining facts about a recipe. Some cookbooks even come with their own utensils. “Cook It in a Cup!”(Chronicle Books) comes with six colorful silicone baking cups to make one-serving foods like lasagna and fruit tarts.

The article “Beyond Cupcakes: Children in the Kitchen” was published on Devember 8th in the “New York Times”

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