In January we brought ‘Variety…The Spice of Life’ to 39 Wyoming Public School STEM classrooms. Students learned how eating a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables gives us a variety of the vitamins and minerals that make our bodies strong and healthy.
We use MyPlate, which was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in all of our STEM classes to encourage kids to love eating things that are good for their bodies. MyPlate recommends that about half of our plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Our “Variety” lesson took eating fruits and vegetables to a whole new level by introducing the concept of “Eating the Rainbow”.
We showed the students how eating a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables gives us a variety of vitamins and minerals that make our bodies strong and healthy. The color of produce is a good indicator of which vitamins and minerals are contained in them. Students were interested to learn that red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, strawberries, and red beans, are packed with vitamin C, and that green fruits and veggies help maintain vision health and strong bones and teeth.
We brought this all around to our school gardens by having a discussion about how gardening can increase our access to our favorite fruits and vegetables.
Every month our lessons end with a fresh food taste test and the students go home with a recipe for making it at home. In January the kids each made their own Fruit Kabob by stringing a raspberry, a blueberry, a grape, a slice of mandarin orange, and a chunk of pineapple on a skewer (did you count the colors?). After the tasting, each student is given the opportunity to vote by giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the recipe. This month’s vote was a practically unanimous “thumbs up” with some kids saying they tried something they had never tasted before.
A few of the comments our staff heard were:
“I love raspberries so much. It was my favorite! I never tried it.”
“That snack was so yummy! When can we make it again?”
“I wish you guys could stay here forever and help us make more snacks!”
We love the excitement about growing and eating fresh fruits and vegetables that is building in these students. In February we begin garden planning.