The Impact of a Culinary Coaching Telemedicine Program on Home Cooking and Emotional Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic enforced social restrictions with abrupt impacts on mental health and changes to health behaviors. From a randomized clinical trial, we assessed the impact of culinary education on home cooking practices, coping strategies and resiliency during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (March/April 2020). Participants (n = 28) were aged 25-70 years with a BMI of 27.5-35 kg/m2. The intervention consisted of 12 weekly 30-min one-on-one telemedicine culinary coaching sessions. Coping strategies were assessed through the Brief Coping with Problems Experienced Inventory, and resiliency using the Brief Resilient Coping Scale. Home cooking practices were assessed through qualitative analysis. The average use of self-care as a coping strategy by the intervention group was 6.14 (1.66), compared to the control with 4.64 (1.69); p = 0.03. While more intervention participants had high (n = 5) and medium (n = 8) resiliency compared to controls (n = 4, n = 6, respectively), this difference was not significant (p = 0.33). Intervention participants reported using home cooking skills such as meal planning and time saving techniques during the pandemic. The key findings were that culinary coaching via telemedicine may be an effective intervention for teaching home cooking skills and promoting the use of self-care as a coping strategy during times of stress, including the COVID-19 pandemic.