Impact of a Pilot Intervention to Improve Nutrition Knowledge and Cooking Confidence Among Low-Income Individuals

Stacey C. Driver, Carol A. Friesen


Poor dietary behaviors, limited food preparation skills, and low levels of self-efficacy toward preparing healthy meals have been indicated in low-income and food insecure populations. The purpose of this pilot intervention was to determine the effectiveness of a community cooking demonstration at increasing participants’ general nutrition knowledge and confidence to prepare healthy meals with limited resources. Data was analyzed from a convenience sample of 23 low-income adults associated with Head Start (n=8) or a local soup kitchen (n=15) in the Midwestern United States. Participants attended a one-hour presentation comprised of a cooking demonstration, taste testing, and basic education on the MyPlate food guide and food safety. Subjects completed a pre- and post-assessment to measure changes in cooking confidence and general food and nutrition knowledge. Results indicated that, although there were no significant improvements in participants’ confidence to prepare healthy meals (39.3±11.3 vs. 44.5±9.1; t=1.76, p=0.25), subjects experienced significant gains in knowledge related to the MyPlate food guide (1.2±0.5 vs. 1.8±0.8; t=2.82, p=0.01) and basic food safety (0.7±0.9 vs. 2.5±1.0; t=6.05, p<0.01). Further research is necessary to identify effective strategies for parlaying increased nutrition knowledge into improved self-efficacy and behavior change.


self-efficacy, Head Start, food safety, low-income, cooking demonstration, nutrition education

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Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0895 (Online)  E-mail:

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