Tuesdays are tasty at Barrington schools
Greco Cervantes, a kindergarten student at Rosalyn Road Elementary School, gives sweet potatoes with cinnamon a try during a recent Tasty Tuesday in Barrington. | Photos courtesy District 220
Updated: October 18, 2012 3:12PM
BARRINGTON — Students at Countryside Elementary School snacked on sweet potatoes with cinnamon earlier this month thanks to the district’s Tasty Tuesdays program.
The healthy eating initiative, organized by both District 220 and Good Shepherd Hospital, introduces elementary school students to healthier foods and food choices. In an effort to find out what type of healthy foods students like, students are able to sample a new healthy food item each month.
Countryside PTO president Lori Madison, who has organized school parents to help serve the tasty samples on Tuesdays, said she has received positive feedback from the students and the parents as well.
“It brought in a whole other group of parents that want to help out,” Madison said.
Madison’s two boys, first-grader Josh and fourth-grader Grant, attend Countryside Elementary and were among the students to taste-test the new treats.
While Good Shepherd Hospital has worked with the school district for years, it is sponsoring Tasty Tuesdays for the first time.
“It’s all about having students try healthy alternatives in a non-threatening way,” said Julie Mayer of Good Shepherd Hospital.
The students can try something new without having their parents spend money on something they may or may not like.
After the district’s first Tasty Tuesday, a survey of students showed that more than 80 percent of students in the district liked the sweet potatoes. Between 50 and 75 percent of students participated.
“It’s an expectation that they may not like it, but we hope to build on Tasty Tuesdays each month,” said Eva Detloff, Barrington 220’s director of nursing and nutrition.
Each school tries to choose foods that are in season and that are healthy. The initiative also aims to show students that different foods can present itself in different ways, such as sweet potato french fries.
Detloff added that the best way to get children to eat these foods regularly is for parents to offer the same foods at home. District newsletters with recipes will be sent home to help parents follow-up with the program.
District 220 Board member Penny Kazmier helps contribute the recipes in the newsletters so parents can try different ways to incorporate healthy foods into their children’s diet.
Although some Tasty Tuesday items are not served up for lunch in the cafeteria, the district’s food service provider also helps find ways to incorporate the new food items into the lunch menu.
Cranberries are on the Tasty Tuesdays menu for November, and district officials have plans to expand the program to the middle schools and high school as well.