Welcome to my blog! I’ve been working as a “Veggiecator” for Veggiecation since 2011, and have received nothing but positive feedback about the program from both the kids and parents. As a graduate student pursuing nutrition education and dietetics, I have had the opportunity to work with many populations but none are quite as fun (and curious) as kids!
Unfortunately, as we all know, kids sometimes don’t have the best eating habits.
The concept behind the class is to help aid behavior change and increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables with 3 simple objectives
1. Increase knowledge
2. Increase self-efficacy
3. Improve perception of fruits and vegetables
This, in turn, results in a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Many children see Fruits and Vegetables as “have to foods” the goal of each class will be to help them see these foods as “want to foods.”
Over the past few years, I have been working with elementary age children within the 5-10 years old range. Children in this age group really benefit from semi-structural, hands on learning. This style of teaching helps them feel comfortable helping in the kitchen and provides exposure to new types of foods. Not to mention, it's a fun and creative way to learn.
Introducing healthy foods at an early age can be beneficial to dietary choices later in life. Unfortunately, fewer than 15% of children in this age group consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Studies have suggested that students above the 6th grade are less likely to try new fruits and vegetables. Therefore it is important to expose children to nutrient packed fruits and vegetables at a young age.
Changing a child’s perception of fruits and vegetables is not easy, but using a theory based approach can positively benefit their dietary behavior throughout life, and of course, benefit health status.
ABOUT THE CLASS:
Each class features 2-3 vegetables.
Step 1: We Learn! We will talk about where vegetables come from, how they grow and the tangible benefits of eating them. (Benefits the kids can actually relate to! ie: helping us fighting colds, better eye sight, big muscles, healthy tummys, clear skin)
Step 2: We Cook! Each kid will get plenty of hands on experience helping me prepare delicious vegetable based snacks and dishes. I will teach the kids simple kid-friendly techniques that will help them feel confident helping out in the kitchen.
Step 3: We Eat! We will all sample our creations! Positive peer pressure from friends will help kids expand their food horizons. Kids will be exposed to foods they have never even heard of, or in some cases retry a food they didn’t like in the past. Statistics say that it takes 15-20 tries for a kid to decide if they like a food. Therefore, repeat exposure is key to a diverse pallet.
At the end of each class the kids will be able to:
· Identify 3 reasons why we eat a specific type of vegetable.
· Try at least 3 (usually many, many more) vegetables.
· And, lastly, they will have hands on experience and confidence in helping prepare 3 recipes. The kids will take the receipes home to share with friends and family. I always like to suggest that the kids "veggiecate" the parents at home to really reinforce everything they have learned and help them take ownership in what they are eating.
The best part of the Veggiecation program is it’s flexibility. We can arrange One Time events, Weekly classes, Monthly classes or even a Seasonal event in which I would come once each season to talk about what is fresh during that time of year.
Remember: A kitchen is not always necessary! As long as we have an electric source we should be fine!
If you or an organization you know is interested, feel free to contact me for sample lesson plans, resources and pricing!
An Apple a Day!