Food and Behaviour Research

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31 July 2014 - Medical News Today - Children's food intake decisions influenced by food preparation by parents

New research suggests that the amount of time parents spend on food preparation at home may affect children's eating behavior away from home and that children whose parents spend more time cooking choose healthier foods

The main findings showed that children whose parents reported more time spent on food preparation at home independently chose to eat meals that were lower in energy density (a measure of calories per gram) than children whose parents reported less food preparation time.
This research suggests parental home food preparation may influence children's food intake patterns, even when children are eating outside the home. Future research studies are needed to see whether encouraging increased amounts of home food preparation or teaching parents food preparation skills will improve children's eating habits.
"Even after controlling for family income and whether or not children had a parent at home full time, we found that children whose parents spend more time cooking make better choices," Shehan added. "Our food preferences develop early in life, so getting young children to eat nutritious foods can help them stay healthy in the long run.