People who took part in Oliver’s Ministry of Food courses increased the amount of fruit and vegetables they ate, halved the number of snacks, and became more confident about cooking, says an independent study. Oliver said teaching people to cook “really works and really does make a huge difference”.
Nutritionists say the findings, which were published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, show that people will make healthier food choices if they improve their cooking skills with a back-to-basics approach.
Oliver launched his Ministry of Food courses in 2008, to help people learn to prepare tasty, nutritious food, whatever their budget, and now has four UK centres.
Nearly 800 people who took part in the eight-week courses in Leeds Kirkgate Market, between 2010 and 2014, were surveyed before and after the course.
Researchers from the University of Leeds spoke to 500 of those participants again, six months later. The average number of fruit-and-vegetable portions eaten daily increased from 2.7 to 4.1 after six months.
The amount of snacks per day had dropped from two to 1.1 six months later.