How to get kids to eat healthy food? Let them cook it!

As a FoodCorps Service Member, it brings me so much joy to see students getting excited about eating healthy food. It warms my heart seeing countless kids jumping up and down in the cafeteria when they see me pull out my taste-testing cart.

But what makes my heart swell even larger is seeing kids get excited about feeding themselves good food.

Like many service members, I often contemplate how to get kids actively excited about eating healthy food.  During this investigation, I discovered that giving students Butternut Squash Bisque was not the effective solution I was looking for; “Ms. Briana, this looks like baby food!”  But what I have found, is that giving students responsibility and the choice of what they eat is the extra push they need to inspire healthy eating for themselves.

With the awakening of spring comes the birth of two exciting new programs that instill a sense of ownership within our students. Recently a new connection has been made with Anjeanette Haas, the new FACS (Family and Consumer Science) teacher at Jefferson High School.  Ms. Haas shares our passion for good food education and has started incorporating the Harvest of the Month into her curriculum. What is even more exciting is that her culinary arts students have been preparing our taste-test dishes and serving them too! February’s Harvest of the Month food was beets and with that the students prepared some delicious beet treats. For Valentine’s Day, the high school students prepared some decadent chocolate beet cupcakes. Later in the month, they baked some cheesy beet biscuits. In addition to loving their beet creations, the elementary students got a big kick out of seeing high school students serving them.  We are excited to see this new connection strengthen in the months to come.

Beet cupcakes Most recently, “Feed the Future”, a project run by Boulder Elementary’s service learning club, has come into existence.  The service-learning club is a group of middle school students that meet three times a week to work on school/community service projects. Their most recent project “Feed the Future” is a student-based snack program. Participating students will be responsible for organizing, preparing and serving a tasty nutritious snack to all the students in Boulder Elementary’s after school program (21st Century Community Learning Center).  It was refreshing to see students get so excited about cooking and serving healthy food to their fellow classmates.  Through the development of these two new programs I have discovered that, yes, students enjoy trying  new foods, but what really inspires excitement is giving them the opportunity to decide, prepare and serve what they eat.

This post was scribed by Briana Sullivan, our incredible FoodCorps service member in Boulder, Montana.

Cheesy beet biscuit