A Different Kind Of Tasty Tuesday….

January 16, 2013 by Michelle

There are some things our school and school district does that’s pretty cool.  While I don’t love every decision, when I heard about the grant obtained by the school nurses to provide a vegetable to try once a month, I thought it was pretty cool.  Each month, on the first Tuesday, a vegetable will be prepared and put into sample cups for the kids to try.  There is enough for each kid to have at least one, but no one has to have it.

As good of eaters are the wee ones are (and I’m so incredibly grateful for that), we still have our food issues.  I know there are many foods Mister Man can’t or won’t eat because of their texture, and I get it.  Things I wish he could or would eat make him gag and worse – avocados, hummus, peppers, tomatoes, and more.  But he eats other things because of our try new foods rule.  He’s discovered that edamame is pretty awesome.  And so are baked sweet potatoes.  And fresh peas.  And green beans.  And sugar snap peas.  And cranberries.  And even the old standby of carrots.

Getting the wee ones to try new foods can be a challenge sometimes.  And I love that the schools are helping, which puts a little added peer pressure on it.  The principal announces that morning what the vegetable is and that she wants everyone to try it.  She goes through the lunchroom during lunch to talk to the kids about what they think and encourage them again.  And they see their friends eating it.

Yesterday, it was my turn to be one of the moms helping to hand out the samples.  When I announced at breakfast that the vegetable this month was black beans, both wee ones looked at me in horror and announced that they don’t like black beans.  Great.

Once at school, all my concerns about how they were going to prepare the black beans were alleviated (last month’s broccoli was unfortunately cooked beyond recognition and October’s sweet potatoes were doused a little too liberally with cinnamon).  They had made black bean salsa.  It had canned black beans, canned diced tomatoes, frozen corn and a little spice for flavor.  Each sample cup had a tortilla chip or two in it for dipping, and the kids were drawn to it like moths to a flame.

Tasty Tuesday black bean salsa samples at the wee ones' school

Yes, we had some kid who came up and wanted just a tortilla chip – which I denied them, explaining that they had to try the black beans first.  Some then would take the black beans, and some didn’t.  But most of the kids who came up wanted seconds.  And thirds.  And they would have come up for fourths if I hadn’t told them we didn’t have enough to give them thirds.  They really liked it.  One of my friend’s sons who is the pickiest eater was a tortilla chip only kid.  I convinced him to try it, and I made him taste it in front of me.  He ate the whole thing.  And came back for seconds.  My friend still doesn’t believe me.  Oh the power of peer pressure – in a positive way!

The cutest were the kids who came up wanting seconds but hiding the stickers I had given them so that I didn’t know they’d already had a sample.  When I called them on it, they would shamefacedly admit it and start to walk away until I explained that they were welcome to a second sample but that they just had to be honest about wanting a second one instead of trying to hide that they’d had one.  Hopefully some of that sunk in, as well.

And the stickers were popular.  Every child who tried the black bean salsa – whether they liked it or not – received a sticker that they could proudly wear for the rest of the day.  It’s another little feel good for the kids that they did something new and were acknowledged for it.

I tried black beans stickers for Tasty Tuesday

As for the wee ones?  Well, I knew with tomatoes and black beans, there was no way Mister Man could tolerate the salsa.  I didn’t make him try it.  Little Miss on the other hand was required to have some.  And she came back for seconds.  Apparently I’ll be making black bean salsa at home, as she gave it two thumbs up.

So thank you to my awesome school for helping not just my children but all the children in the district open their eyes and stomachs to foods they might not otherwise try.  I’ll take all the help I can get.  What do you do to try to increase the breadth of your child’s palate?


  • Marianne S.

    Wow, that’s a great program idea! I wish our school nurse would look into something like that. (I wonder if it’s a state, or federal grant?) I think that it would be a great way for the kids in my son’s elementary to try new things…plus, they all love stickers too!! 😉

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Michelle

      The program is funded by a local foundation that supports the district schools and teachers for “above and beyond” programs. That said, it’s been really popular, although the nurse told me that it was more expensive to run than they’d calculated, so they have had to limit servings more than anticipated, which is a shame. If a PTO has the money, this would be a great thing for them to do – or to look around for grants from local hospitals and the like. And YES it’s amazing how the stickers can be motivators!

  • kim

    That is a really interesting program and though I don’t see it working so well for older kids, it sounds fabulous for earlier elementary. I made loads of black bean salsa toward the end of last summer. Fresh tomatoes and corn. Yum.

  • Melissa

    That really was a good way to introduce black beans. My daughter’s school does the same thing. One time, they sampled spinach. They gave each kid a spinach leaf. Totally not the way to get a child into spinach. My daughter loves raw spinach but wouldn’t eat it. She eats spinach with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. Adding a little balsamic would probably have gotten more children to try it. At least the thought was there…..

  • tracey

    It’s always nice when schools make the extra effort like that. Glad it’s working out so well!

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Roasted Chickpeas
    Tuesday, 23 April, 2013

    […] do you remember me talking about Tasty Tuesday at the wee ones’ school?  The first Tuesday of every month, they have a new fruit or vegetable to try during lunch – […]

  • Trackback from How NOT To Get Kids To Like Veggies
    Thursday, 13 February, 2014

    […] year, I wrote about a program our school was doing to encourage kids to try veggies. The district’s school nurses developed a program where the first Tuesday of each month, a […]

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