Development of culinary recipes in an intervention program with Brazilian university students

ABSTRACT Objective Develop and test recipes for a cooking skills intervention program aimed at students of a Brazilian university. Methods Culinary recipes were selected for the Nutrition and Culinary in the Kitchen program, which offers cooking classes for participants to practice and develop their cooking skills. The Nutrition and Culinary in the Kitchen program is based on the Cooking with a Chef program of the United States of America. A literature search was conducted to establish criteria for the selection and development of recipes. A decision tree was constructed to determine if Cooking With a Chef recipes were appropriate for the Nutrition and Culinary in the Kitchen program. Recipes were evaluated in the laboratory by untrained university students using an acceptance test that comprised the analysis of sensorial attributes and healthiness criteria. Results Of the 32 developed recipes, nine were based on the Cooking With a Chef program. Recipes were adapted to increase the use of fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables; eliminate ultra-processed foods; and take into account local food habits and seasonality of ingredients. In the first test, 53.3% (n=16) of the dishes received an acceptance score of less than 70.0% mainly because of unsatisfactory taste. Culinary recipes considered inadequate were redesigned in terms of ingredients and/or cooking methods and were retested until achieving a score of 100.0%. Conclusion Culinary recipes adapted to the Brazilian food culture and the target audience with the use of healthy ingredients and cooking techniques were considered appropriate for the Nutrition and Culinary in the Kitchen cooking skills intervention program and might increase participants’ adherence to healthy eating habits.