Tried it, Liked it, Loved it

Many parents have a hard time convincing their kids to eat their fruits and vegetables. For the past few weeks we have been providing quick and easy samples of fruits and vegetables at an elementary school in Columbus Junction partnering with the summer food service program. This program gives low-income children nutritious meals during the summertime when the academic year is over. Kids who attend this program range anywhere from preschool all the way to high school. Parents can accompany their children and some parents have even participated in our tastings! 

After sampling, the kids receive a sticker for each food they tried and then rank their preference as “Tried it, Liked it, or Loved it." Kids can put their stickers under “tried it”* if they tried it but it’s not their favorite; “liked it” if they simply liked it; or “loved it” if they would try it at home. The purpose of adding this little activity is to determine what the kids thought of the samples and also to make their experience fun.

*We try our best to stay away from using negative words such as “hate” when describing food as this can influence what other kids think of it before sampling for themselves.


“It has flavor!”

The kids were put to the task of identifying the differences and similarities between homegrown cucumbers and store-bought cucumbers. As the chart displays, more kids preferred the homegrown cucumbers to the store-bought version. They were asked to describe the two types based on the taste and texture.

Adjectives that were used to describe the homegrown cucumber included soft, flavorful, refreshing, watery, and fresh.

They described the store-bought cucumber as being crunchy, chewy, sour, dull, and gross

Kale chips and roasted beets

 “First taste”

Kale chips are most likely a new experience for most kids (and adults for that matter). They complimented the kale chips on the crunchy texture, but weren’t sold on the flavor.

Beets were a little more familiar for most of the kids, so they had no problem sampling them and we even got some devout beet-lovers! There were still a few kids who were not fond of the flavor, however, those who ate it said the beets had a similar flavor to sweet corn. 

Napa cabbage and pea shoots salad w/ blueberry dressing

“Purple salad?, I’ll try it!”

Kids were ecstatic to sample the purple tinted and sweet, berry aroma salad. The rating was somewhat evenly distributed, with “Liked it” having the most stars. Some kids loved the sweet and tangy flavor of the dressing while others were indifferent.

Check out this fun way of making salad by going to this link Napa Cabbage Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

“Don’t yuck my yum”

Peer pressure at times can work in a positive way, especially for kids who are not easily convinced to try new foods. After watching their friends or siblings test out the samples, kids are even more likely to try it. There have been numerous times when a kid would try a sample despite being convinced that they would not try it. It was evident that many kids tried the samples for the fun of deciding where to put their stickers. This was a great way to get the kids to taste something at least once and encourage them to expand their taste buds and try new foods in the future.