New Study Shows Chef-prepared Meals Increase Healthy Eating in Kids

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Recently a study was conducted by researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health of more than 2,600 children in grades three through eight. What they learned is something many doctors, nutritionists, and parents have been saying for years; if given a choice of high quality natural foods, kids will generally make healthy selections. The study consisted of randomly placing chefs in schools to “spice up the fruits, vegetables and entrees with low-fat, low-salt recipes.” They even went so far as to change the way the food was presented to the kids in the food line. When the children went to throw their plate away, monitors measured the amount of “plate waste” they discarded. Plate waste represents the food left over after eating that is thrown away by the child. The results speak for themselves according to Juliana Cohen, a research associate in the school’s nutrition department “when kids were offered sautéed broccoli in garlic and olive oil or vegetable soup instead of hideous piles of indistinguishable greens, they tended to eat more of the healthful food…” This is great news, because as the study points out “30 million children receive meals at school each day and many of them rely on those meals for as much as half their calories.” And as for concerns that schools may not be able to afford a trained chef, Cohen said “the move actually saved money for the ones in this study.” There is one is area though where more work remains, and that’s with children’s choice of milk. Kids in schools are still given the option of white milk or chocolate milk, and the majority still prefers the sugar-sweetened taste of chocolate milk. What this study and others like it make clear though, is children want to eat good, all-natural, healthy foods and given the opportunity, they usually will.

To learn about the results of the study, follow the link: http://wapo.st/1ChUJYK

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