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University of Minnesota Extension

Teaching children to “Go Wild” for fruits and veggies

Nutrition education pivots to online

Keeping children’s minds active during the pandemic comes with many challenges. One important topic that children learn in school is about food, health and nutrition. School nutrition education helps children learn to accept and try a wider variety of nutritious foods at the table, while steering them away from picky eating habits. 

Before the pandemic, the University of Minnesota Extension offered Go Wild in classrooms across Minnesota. This program was developed for students ranging from grades 3-5 to help expand their preference and knowledge of foods in a fun interactive way. Taught in seven lessons separated into colors of fruits and vegetables, Go Wild provides children with an exciting way to learn about healthy foods and sparks interest in trying new ones. 

Objectives of the program

  • Increase child preference for and knowledge of fruits and vegetables.
  • Expand the variety and colors of fruits and vegetables children eat.
  • Have families prepare and eat more fruits and vegetables at home.
  • Take part in physical activity while learning about its importance as a part of good health.

Due to the pandemic “Go Wild” was adapted to a virtual learning experience. According to SNAP-Ed Regional coordinator Sara Van Offelen, “Go Wild is offered in three different ways to ensure access for all students.” Educators now offer classes over Zoom, through an online version that can be completed independently or as a technology-free version where lesson packets can be sent home. A web-based version of the program is also available for purchase, giving instructors access to all the “Go Wild” lessons and resources needed to teach the program.

If you are trying to encourage your child to try new foods, visit our course on child overindulgence for extra guidance. Parents and caregivers overindulge children from a "good heart" especially during stressful times. Overindulgence doesn't help children (or families) in the long run. Minimizing overindulgence can improve family well-being and stability.

Lauren Kunken, dietetic intern

Related topics: Family
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