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Tips for Hosting a Taste Test at Your School with FoodCorps

by Ernie Stedman, FoodCorps Service Member at Wylde Center

The results are in: students LOVE trying new fruits and veggies in school!

Kids love talking about what they like and don’t like with each other and their teachers. It gives them a chance to feel heard and it’s a great tool for teaching them to respect each others’ differences. Different tastes are something kids can really understand! I always let my students know: I don’t expect you to like everything we try together in the classroom. But I encourage trying new things, keeping an open mind, and sharing our honest opinions respectfully.

Start simple.

It doesn’t have to be too complicated. In fact, simpler recipes are easier for families to repeat with their kids at home. Every now and then I’ll run into a parent who tells me how much they liked one of the recipes I shared  with their kids. Simple things can have a big impact!


Try an in-class “cooking” demo with simple recipe cards that your students can take home.

Kids get very engaged when they are all able to use their senses and feel involved. I was surprised how easy classroom management was when the kids all had their hands on a bag full of kale. Lots of my students then take the recipe card home and make the recipes with their families. Some of the biggest impact I’ve seen from my work has come from extremely simple in-class recipes.

Set up a table on the kids’ way to recess or outside the cafeteria.

You can reach more students in the school in a shorter time this way. Try catching a few classes for a quick taste test on their way to recess or to lunch (one at a time, of course). Once you’ve done this a few times, students will try to stop you in the hallways and ask when the next taste test is all the time! 

I’ve noticed that by making recipes and taste tests a sort of social event, it can make trying new things a little less scary for kids. Even if they don’t love the food, they get to experience it together, and share their feelings and opinions in a respectful, honest space.