School & Community News

Building healthy habits, one taste at a time
March 14, 2017

March 2017… “Where does soy milk come from?” registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Deahl-Greenlaw once asked of students who are tasting cow’s milk and soy milk.

Amy Deahl-Greenlaw highlights healthy and less healthy snacks for students.

“From lactose-intolerant cows!” one student responded, enthusiastically but incorrectly.

The student, who likely knew that lactose-intolerant people may drink soy milk, might have been influenced by a commercial that featured a talking cow, said Ms. Deahl-Greenlaw, who works with Healthy NewsWorks. “The food misinformation that children get is remarkable,” she said. Offering nutrition education in schools is especially important, she said, so that marketers are not the only source of nutrition information for children.

Ms. Deahl-Greenlaw appreciates the emphasis Healthy NewsWorks places on evaluating information and identifying trustworthy sources. As part of the taste tests she runs in schools, she has students read ingredient lists on product labels and discuss what to look for, so they not only try new foods but also learn how to make judgments about any food they encounter. “Taste testing is very impactful,” she said. Students “may not remember anything that you say, but they will remember what you have them taste.”

Ms. Deahl-Greenlaw usually starts with a learning objective and designs the taste test around it. To show that healthy food can be delicious and accessible, the recipe “has to be easy, it has to be relatively convenient, and it has to taste good.”

She doesn’t pressure picky eaters; rather, her goal is to “create a fun, welcoming, interesting environment that entices people to taste.”

—By Adele Thornton, Healthy NewsWorks volunteer

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.