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Youth Chef Academy: Pilot Results From a Plant‐Based Culinary and Nutrition Literacy Program for Sixth and Seventh Graders

05 Nov 2018



National data confirm that youth are not eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (F/V), legumes, and whole grains (WGs). Establishing plant‐based eating patterns early in life may positively impact long‐term health through tracking of adolescent eating patterns into adulthood and through potential associations between adolescent dietary intake and adult disease risk. The study aim was to examine the effectiveness of Youth Chef Academy (YCA), a classroom‐based experiential culinary and nutrition literacy intervention for sixth and seventh graders (11‐ to 13‐year‐olds) designed to impact healthy eating.


Study used a nonequivalent control group design with 8 schools selected for similarity in: free/reduced‐price lunch, race/ethnicity, and student mobility rate (N = 248). Primary outcomes were times per day of F/V, vegetable, and WG consumption. Students completed a survey to assess primary outcomes and other measures at baseline and post‐intervention.


Significant increases in times per day of F/V (p = .022) and vegetable only (p = .015) consumption in the intervention group compared to the control group. Increases in WG consumption showed trended toward significance (p = .071). Student engagement and nutrition knowledge showed significant intervention effects.


YCA positively impacts behavioral and knowledge variables related to healthy eating and increases students' engagement in their classrooms.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of School Health