Pearl Stephens Students Get Taste of Fruit Pilot Program

6:39 PM, Oct 19, 2012   |    comments
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The CDC says at last count, more than 20-percent of children in the United States are obese.

Diets made up of a lot of fast food and processed foods don't help.

One pilot program in Houston County Schools could tip the scales in the other direction.

On Wednesdays and Fridays at Pearl Stephens Elementary, all 350 children taste test a new fruit or vegetable.

This week, they learned about the plum and its 140 varieties, grown on every continent except Antartica.

The lesson and taste test is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program.

The USDA awarded Pearl Stephens more than $17,000 this year to pay for the weekly fruits and veggies, plus serving supplies.

School dietician Lauren Koff says the goal is encourage healthy eating habits.

Koff said, "The fresh fruit and vegetable program really gets kids to try new things. The whole point of trying new things is to include them in your diet later.The more you try them, the more you like them. You can figure out a few things you like, and a few things you don't."

She hopes the taste tests and lessons encourage students to ask for fruits and vegetables at home.

Some of the other fruits and vegetables the students have tried include starfruit, pomegranites and snap beans.

Koff says the school system is testing the program at Pearl Stephens, but hopes to expand it to other schools next year.

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