The impact of the “Cooking”

Sirous tosh mentioned that :

The impact of the “Cooking with a Chef” program on mealtime practices of parents and caregivers was evalu- ated using a quasi-experimental de- sign with one control and one inter- vention group. The intervention group consisted of a random sample of parents and caregivers of preschool children from the Church of the Ad- vent in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The control group consisted of a ran- dom sample of parents and caregivers of preschool children from an Inman Church. The intervention group re- ceived the “Cooking with a Chef” program; the control group received lesson materials and recipes only. Pre and post questionnaires measured mealtime practices, use of flavors in cooking at home, fruit and vegetable intake, and parental support. Means, frequencies, and paired t tests were computed. Additionally, the nutrition educator conducted informal focus group discussions at the end of each session. Twenty-nine individuals com- pleted the evaluation, including 15 parents and caregivers in the inter- vention group and 14 parents and caregivers in the control group. Re- sults showed that “Cooking with a Chef” increased participants’ aware- ness of how to prepare simple, health- ful meals using flavors (spices) while cooking. Although no significant changes in fruit and vegetable intake were noted among either group, there was an increase in the number of fruit servings consumed per day for children in the intervention group.

Comments from focus group inter- views indicated that this program was “an easy way” for parents and caregivers to learn how to cook more health- ful meals for their families. “Cooking with a Chef” gave participants the confidence to try new foods and “not be afraid to mess up.” The participants talked about making a conscious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables and make more healthful snacks for their children. They especially commented on the impact of the chef. “The chef made it fun and more entertaining.”

“He showed us different ways to cook chicken and how to slice a canta- loupe, you know, simple ways of doing things.” “He gave us advice on what to do when things go wrong and rec- ipe substitutions.” When asked how they would describe “Cooking with a Chef” to friends, one of the partici- pants coined it as a “makeover for the whole family.”

Parental comfort level in the kitchen and awareness of healthful ingredients for food preparation are necessary to provide a positive food environment for preschool children and family members. The “Cooking with a Chef” program can enhance skills needed for sustainable, healthful menu changes at home. Plans are underway to train chefs working full-time within a church community with responsibility for meal preparation and outreach. This extension of community-based participative research will provide a foundation for healthful meal preparation at the community and individual home environment levels.

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