What fruits and vegetables taste good with peanut butter, yogurt and pizza? What kinds of produce from the garden make good toppings for a burrito? Ask one of the 8-12 year-olds who participated in this summer’s Farm Youth Initiative program and they could probably tell you!
Through the FYI program, more than 150 children from Kids Cafe sites in D.C., Maryland and Virginia learned about the health benefits of incorporating eight servings of fruits and vegetables into their meals every day. Each group of kids practiced making “packed snacks” by matching kid-friendly snack foods with fruits and vegetables they’re likely to encounter at school, home or their community center.
So instead of eating plain salsa and chips, a “packed snack” adds peaches, black beans, corn and cheese to that store bought salsa and it is then served with whole wheat crackers. Now that’s a snack that is good for you, tastes great (just ask the kids) and is very filling!
During field trips to Clagett Farm, the kids had the chance to harvest and taste-test veggies and herbs from the garden. And they worked together to create healthy snacks that included fruits and vegetables with other familiar ingredients.
All of these activities aim to increase children’s comfort level with eating fruits and vegetables. By engaging kids with new tastes and textures, FYI hopes to increase the likelihood that they will gobble up at least eight servings of these essential foods on an everyday basis. This summer’s FYI participants had a lot of fun and we think they’ll head back to school ready to include fruits and vegetables with their meals whenever they have the chance.