Potter Street students taste test sweet potatoes as part of nutrition program

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Students at Potter Street Elementary got a “sweet” surprise Tuesday morning when HealthMPowers paid them a visit and hosted a YAM Sweet Potato taste test.

In order to make this possible, HealthMPowers partnered with Georgia Grown and Bainbridge School Nutrition, along with the Bainbridge High School Health Advocates to integrate this healthy food option into the day.

“Taste test experiences at school provide kids with opportunities to develop preferences for and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables,” Lee Ann Else, Development Director of HealthMPowers said.

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All of the students were treated to sweet potato fries and yams served with honey mustard dipping sauce, after tasting the treat, kids put up a Georgia Grown sticker under “Loved it” “Liked it” or “Not my favorite.”

Pre-K student, Aubrey Smith was under the “Not my favorite” category.

“I did not like them,” she said. “They didn’t have a flavor even if you dipped them in the sauce.”

Smith said she likes fishsticks and pizza much more.

Else understands that not every kid will like every fruit and vegetable on their plate.

“The encouragement to celebrate the fruits and vegetables at least helps them try it,” Else said.

She has seen classrooms incorporate this in various ways such as building a spinach flower, or using lemon drops as rain.

“It really opens up their eyes,” Else claims.

Interaction with healthy foods can also help kids be more open to trying them. Else suggests starting their own garden and growing the food themselves or something of that nature.

“It is exciting to have state partners like HealthMPowers and Georgia Grown support the important work we are doing in school nutrition to teach kids to love healthy food,” said Debbie Purcell, Decatur County School Nutrition Director.

The healthy choices that start at a young age often influence the choices as an adolescent, which is why the Health Advocate program at Bainbridge High School is so unique.

These students make nutrition-based decisions for their peers and community, and as part of “Giving Tuesday” they gave back and helped the kids at Potter Street open their eyes to these local goods.

“It is exciting to see these youth leaders expand their community service to Potter Street Elementary School,” Purcell said.

After the taste test was completed, the statewide partners prepared a grilled sweet potato taste test for the BHS Health Advocates on a new Big Green Egg that was donated to Decatur County School Nutrition.