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Children who help cook eat better, study finds

Children who are allowed to help with the cooking tend not to be such picky eaters, according to a study by the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ).

This content was published on February 17, 2012 - 13:19
swissinfo.ch and agencies

But applying pressure, such as making children finish all the food on their plates, makes them even fussier, it was found.

Researcher Klazine van der Horst surveyed around 300 parents in German-speaking Switzerland with children between six and 12 years old. Her findings have been published in the journal Appetite and highlighted in the ETHZ Life magazine.

She found that eating enjoyment was an important aspect of children’s picky eating behaviour. Children who helped with cooking were found to be the least fussy eaters and here they should be able to help with small tasks instead of just watching or setting the table, the study recommended.

But pressure to eat was found to be counterproductive. “High controlling practices might create a negative environment around food and healthy eating and so decrease eating enjoyment and increase picky eating,” the author also noted

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