Online cooking lessons to boost student health

Transition to university is associated with many things – burgers, beer and brownies among them.

A program providing online cooking lessons to students at Deakin University has demonstrated the potential to improve student eating habits, with a goal of overcoming ‘low cooking self-efficacy and food skills’ (aka being bad cooks).

The Nourished@Deakin program was co-designed with students, providing a series of blogs, recipes and cooking videos to help them find their way around the kitchen.

Reporting on outcomes of the program, Dr Claire Margerison said that the pilot resulted in increased fruit consumption. Dr Margerison noted that 42% of those who completed a survey about the program were from the Faculty of Health – which may account for the fact that there were no changes in food knowledge arising, with an astonishing 56% of participants knew the correct portions of fruit and 66% the correct portion of vegetables before the survey commenced (try to replicate those results on the general population – 94% of Australians don’t eat the right amount of fruit and veg).

The Deakin team found that while only modest improvements had been achieved through the pilot, “a revised program (incorporating a greater variety of recipes, additional blogs, and new videos) may encourage greater engagement and result in increased confidence and knowledge in other targeted areas.”

The recipe is available to any hungry member of the HE community, with some really delicious recipes for smoothies, wholemeal pancakes – all with insta-worthy serving pics, rapid-fire how-to videos, cost estimates and written recipes. The team might just need to work on the names of dishes. ‘Wholesome lentil curry’ and ‘healthy tuna, lemon and green bean pasta’ look delicious but might be killing uptake with virtue-laden monikers.



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