To increase comfort and confidence in youth and families in the kitchen by teaching nutrition, food safety, and cooking skills, all while encouraging positive family interactions.
Use of Theory or Research
Social Cognitive Theory with emphasis on Experiential Learning.
Youth of all ages and their families participated via Zoom from their home with adult supervision
Kids in the Kitchen Virtual Cooking Club is a youth program comprised of live cook-along sessions. Throughout each session, nutrition and food safety principles are taught through recipe modification, safe food handling, and balanced meal choices. Each session consists of 2 recipes structured over 2 hours in the evenings. Youth (with their guardians) attend scheduled Zoom sessions and cook together with the instructors from their home kitchens.
Anonymous surveys are shared through Zoom polls during the class to assess skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy in the kitchen. Survey questions were adapted from the iCook 4-H program (Mathews et al., 2018).
From April 2020 through December 2021, 31 virtual cooking sessions were offered throughout Idaho and Georgia, leading nearly 1,200 youth and adults from 30 counties across 6 states to receive this hands-on educational program. Average attendance was 40 participants with 72% of attendees coming to 2+ sessions. Participants reported gaining nutrition and food safety knowledge (92%), increasing cooking skills (93%), and improving self-efficacy for cooking (93%). One hundred percent of recipes had been made again by participating families.
This interactive nutrition and cooking program showed impactful outcomes while reaching new audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual format allowed more youth to participate with their guardians from the comfort and safety of their homes, encouraging positive child/parent interaction by cooking together. This innovative youth program can be replicated by health and nutrition educators even after the pandemic subsides.