“Spinach will now be my most favoritist food forever!”
Kids say the darndest things when they try new foods, but it’s not always easy to get them to in the first place. It’s much easier to convince kids to try something new when they’ve learned about in class, helped plant its seed in the garden, or helped cut it up for consumption. Sometimes, however, they’re still resistant. That’s where the humble taste test comes in, creating the atmosphere of excitement that encourages kids to take a taste of a new healthy food.
Taste tests can be set up anywhere, but often take place in the cafeteria. FoodCorps service members have led taste tests of everything from raw apples to Cherokee trout to chicken biryani in just the last year. Here’s how they’ve done it.
Prep the dish in large portions…
…but serve in tasting portions.
Use signage to drum up excitement and lets kids know where the food comes from, such as the school garden or a local farm.
Reward participation. Trying a new food can be a scary experience, so celebrate participation even if it wasn’t someone’s favorite.
Don’t feel tied down to the table where you initially set up. Take the show on the road and bring it directly to ‘customers.’
Sit with kids and engage them as they’re trying the food.
Ask for input afterwards too. Kids love to chime in, and it leaves you with some easy data afterwards.
Use the results to see if the recipe should be repeated or not. Not all taste tests are successes, but those that are must be celebrated!
FoodCorps FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in schools.