March 11, 2005 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson
MIDDLE FORK, Ky.
children sampling vegetables

After tasting each sample, students recorded what the item tasted like, and if they liked it.

Color is the Key is the name of a program aimed at teaching elementary students in Magoffin County the importance of eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. 

Magoffin County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences Brooke Jenkins recently presented the program at Middle Fork Elementary. She brought samples of fruits and vegetables for the students to taste and evaluate, including blueberries, pineapples, dried cranberries, kiwis, mangos, radishes, leaf spinach, red cabbage, lima beans and bell peppers.

“We’re hoping to promote fruit and vegetable consumption among our youth,” she said. “They get to sample things they may have never tried. A lot of times our children don’t consume enough, partly because they don’t have access to a lot of variety.”

Students were asked to sample each fruit and vegetable and then record on a sheet of paper what color the item was, if they liked it and how it tasted. The sheets will be sent home to parents to show them what their students enjoyed.

“Maybe by showing the parents what their child likes, they will be encouraged to try new things at home,” Jenkins said. “A lot of times, as adults, we buy what we like and that can deprive our children of variety in fruits and vegetables.”

Part of the program included a classroom lesson, given as part of the monthly 4-H club meetings in fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classes. Students learned the importance of fruits and vegetables and were encouraged to eat at least five servings per day. They were also asked to design a banner for their favorite fruit or vegetable. The banners will be judged and the most creative will be given a $20 gift certificate from the local Health Department to purchase produce at the local grocery store.

Some students tried everything Jenkins offered, but others were a little timid about trying new things. Fourth grader Morgan Connelley is president of her 4-H club, and she was excited to participate in the program.

“I love this project and I’m glad they came here because I would never have tried some of these,” she said. “I eat a lot of apples and broccoli, but now I’ll probably eat more fruits and vegetables than I usually do.”

Cory Pitts and Kylie Howard, also fourth-graders, both enjoyed the project and tried new things.

“Some of them are good, like the blueberries,” Howard said. “I do eat a lot of apples, grapes and blueberries. Vegetables – I don’t eat as much, but I do eat some carrots. Vegetables have a lot of vitamins and they make you stronger.”

“This project was awesome; everything was good,” Pitts said. “I tried spinach, radishes and just about everything else. They are very healthy for your body.”

Jenkins said she plans to follow up with the teachers to see if the students have increased their fruit and vegetable consumption.

“We may even do a five-a-day challenge,” she said. “Students would keep a daily log of their fruit and vegetable consumption and see where they rank with their peers.”

Contact: 

Editor: Aimee Heald-Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Brooke Jenkins 606-349-3216