If we teach our children how to cook, they will have better knowledge of preparing food, cooking techniques and experience new tastes, making them more likely to grow up and become healthy adults.
The new research says that it may interest some children to watch CBeebies and Masterchef, but it doesn’t compare to actually letting the kids wear the apron and making a mess in the kitchen.
Cooking lessons aimed at both adults and school pupils had a good impact on eating habits, with more pupils saying the ate an increased amount of vegetables and fruit after the classes, revealed a study in Liverpool by City University London.
The School Food Trust carried another study, which measured the impact of a national network of school cooking clubs for kids aged between 4 & 8 year olds, and found that learning how to cook improved their desire to eat the foods and recognise the healthier ones more.
Experts explain that kids can learn and pick up a lot from cooking themselves, which could be an answer to improving our lifestyles and diets.
Cooking lessons on hold
We know that the push for school children to eat more healthily is not a new issue, with TV Chef Jamie Oliver campaigning against unhealthy school dinners.
However, the government’s plan to include cooking skills in the curriculum in secondary schools is now on hold, as the government reviews the national curriculum to come into force in 2014.
Cooking is still part of the curriculum at primary schools, but the quality of lessons is thought to vary hugely from school to school.
Inside and out of school, social enterprise initiatives and charities can play a big role.
A teacher of food technology at Enterprise South Liverpool, Jaqui Lawson, understands the value of cooking lessons for school pupils.
Lawson arranged for a group of her sixth form students to compete in a secondary school cooking competition run by a social enterprise, Can Cook.
Before their dishes were judged by a panel of professionals, the students received 3 hours of training from a chef and practised some cooking recipes.
Lawson said, “They were trying things they hadn’t tried before, like Spanish cooking, Thai food and how to make burgers from scratch with lean mince beef.
“At first they were sceptical, but they learnt 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.”
The students commented after the sessions, “It was challenging in a good way”, “it was fun learning how to cook”, “the chicken was quite hard to understand but the chefs helped” and “I felt I could do all of the stuff we were shown”.
Initiatives like this are supported by everyone in the food industry including restaurants, UK restaurant insurance providers, suppliers, hotels and food manufacturers as not only will it help people lead a healthier lifestyle, but it can also generate interest in the industry and encourage people to get jobs in the industry in the future.