TEEN HEALTH Published March26, 2015 By Staff Reporter

Bringing Chefs To School Kitchens May Promote Healthy Eating

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School Lunch
(Photo : Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images News)

Lately, the United States was in hot water for serving unappetizing foods in schools. They were even compared to other countries who serve healthy yet appetizing foods to their students. A new study then suggested to involve professional chefs in cooking school lunches and meals in order to make healthy choices be more desirable for children.

The study which was led by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, showed that giving chef-cooked and enhanced meals to four randomly chosen schools has positive effects in the consumption of fruits and vegetables among kids.

There are a total of 14 schools participating in the study. Hence, the consumption of the four schools with professional chefs in their kitchen were compared to the other 10 schools who serves regular school meals. The study involved 2,638 students from grades three to eight. While some of the schools received chef-planned meals, some used 'choice architecture' and others used both.

Those students studying at schools where a professional chef prepares their lunch ate at least 8% more vegetables compared to the other students. The study lasted for seven months and after the study period, the students at chef-assisted schools had 30% more chances of choosing a vegetable and were 20% more likely to choose fruits than other kids from other schools.

"The results highlight the importance of focusing on the palatability of school meals," says lead author Juliana Cohen, a research fellow in nutrition at Harvard Chan.

"Partnerships with chefs can lead to substantial improvements in the quality of school meals and can be an economically feasible option for schools," she added as reported by Medical News Today.

The researchers have now recommended that schools should take the help of professional chefs in order to improve the taste and the presentation of their food. By doing this, they can promote healthy eating without compromising taste and palatability of food. 

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