You have likely read about the differences that choosing quality foods make for your health and well-being, but some of the smaller consumers in your household may not value those nutritional differences quite as much as you do. In fact, if your kiddos are like many children, only one the matters to them: TASTE. This activity takes food quality differences from an abstract educational concept to a tasty hands-on experience for your healthy little chefs. Here’s how to make it happen at your house!
Suggested Comparison Categories:
Grassfed cheese vs. processed cheese (may also be done with milk or beef)
Organic tomato vs. conventional tomato
All natural juice vs. sugar sweetened juice blends
Locally grown strawberry (or other fruit) vs. frozen strawberry
What You Need:
- Conventional forms of taste test items*
- Higher quality taste test items*
- Small plates and cups to set up samples
- Cucumber water or other ‘palate cleanser’
- Rating cards. Adjust the rating system to appropriate levels for your children, but regardless of the age of the testers, be sure to use the taste test for an lively family discussion after tasting.
* We have intentionally chosen items for the taste test that can be bought in small quantities to make this a more affordable activity, but feel free to choose different categories and/or foods.
What You Do:
- Put out each food comparison set side by side.
- Before your children begin to taste the foods, ask some questions about the appearance of the foods. The more natural versions are likely smaller, less perfect looking, and have somewhat different colors than the conventional versions. Talk about chemicals and additives being responsible for these differences being responsible for many of these differences.
- Let the tasting begin! Make your kids feel professional by having some cucumber infused water to cleanse their palates as professional taste testers do in between bites. Talk about differences in taste and texture. Note that on some items, your kids may prefer the less healthy version. For example, the sugar sweetened juice may taste better to them. Let this be an opportunity to talk about how manufacturers use ingredients like processed sugar to trick their taste buds into wanting more.
- End by letting your kids voice their own conclusion. Drawing their own conclusions will be a far more powerful lesson than anything you could tell them! Talk about some switches they’d like to make in your home.