Abstract| Volume 45, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S8, July 2013

Little Books and Little Cooks Parenting Education Program


      To increase nutrition knowledge and improve healthy eating habits of families; to strengthen the relationship between parent and child; and to improve preschoolers’ cooking skills.

      Target audience

      Preschoolers and their parents.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale

      Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model is used to address several factors impacting obesity among preschoolers. Whereas parental feeding practices influence young children’s eating behaviors, food preferences and dietary patterns (Ventura & Birch, 2008), a few studies show that reading children's books about healthy eating encourages children to try new foods and make healthy choices (Murphy & Hammerschmidt, 2008) and involving young children in cooking is the best way to teach healthy eating (Dodge & Colker, 1996). Learning healthy eating habits at a young age can reap benefits for a lifetime (Savage, Fisher & Birch, 2007). Cooking is one activity that can help improve children’s school readiness and parents’ knowledge of healthy eating (Spears, 2000).


      This program is a 7-week parenting education program designed to increase positive parent-child interaction skills by reading children’s books about healthy eating/nutrition followed by preparing a healthy recipe and eating together.


      A parent self-report survey instrument (parents’ feeding, child’s eating, family’s eating style) based on previously validated tools is administered pre and post program along with a pre and post observation checklist (child cooking skills, parent-child interaction during cooking and mealtime) which was created for this program.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Participant families showed promising results in enhancing children’s cooking skills, along with reported improved parent-child interaction and parents’ feeding practices, increasing fruits and vegetable consumption for children and decreasing children’s picky eating.


      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.