The Kitchen Think: Winning Hearts and Minds with Just Two Bites


Forget show and tell. We’re talking show and taste. This, my friends, is how you win the hearts and minds and palates of the next generation.

Take a bunch of weird looking fruit, and even stranger vegetables, into the classroom and give kids a chance to touch, taste, look and learn. School districts across the countries are taking advantage of a federal grant that pays them to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to the kids. Here’s the interesting part: the fruits and vegetables can’t just be served as part of the government-subsidized free breakfast or lunch meals, which forces teachers to incorporate nutrition and smart eating habits into their lesson plans.

And the kids, and teachers, are having fun doing it, too.

Kids who go to school in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, often described as an urban food desert, have walked on the wild side and sampled jicama, papaya, mango, star fruit, uglifruit and rutabaga. And while they’ve also tried the basics, like cucumbers, green beans and tomatoes, their teachers apparently like mixing the mysterious with the mundane.

Good for them!

Teachers say no one is forced to eat anything, but everyone is asked to take a bite, think about it and take another bite. Just two bites. Great idea.

Other schools around the country have come up with some pretty creative ways to engage kids and showcase healthier eating choices. Famous chefs are coming into the classroom to teach kids how to make simple, but nutritious, meals. Schools are setting up farmer’s market-style kiosks, with real farmers, to talk about their produce.

This is how you begin the war on childhood obesity and start changing lifelong bad eating habits… not by suddenly slapping fat-free, sugar-free, flavor-free food on a lunch tray.

Making lifelong changes can be as simple as… just two bites.

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: