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Students taste a colorful world of healthy eating

Friends Victoria Fountain and Natalie Frezch share laughter and broccoli. Reminder photo by Danielle Paine
By Danielle Paine

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW There was an air of both excitement and apprehension as the students of Wolf Swamp Road School tasted a rainbow of produce last week.

"I like the little red things and the broccoli," said Angelika Murphy about trying red peppers and broccoli with low-fat ranch dip.

"I really don't like this though," she added in regards to the kiwi, as she mashed it into a seedy green pulp.

For three days, students participated in a lunch-time nutritional education program titled, "Eat your Colors- Five a Day taste testing party."

Longmeadow food services partnered with parent and Springfield College graduate student Philippa Siegal for the taste testing, designed to present various fruits and vegetables as tasty choices.

After eating their lunches, students were able to try a sampling of natural snacks, sign their names to a "wall of fame" and to each take a pencil for their participation.

"Our school district has a new wellness policy of introducing nutritional education in both the classroom and the cafeteria," explained Andrew P. Stratton, director of the town's food services. "Over the next two years, we'll be running a number of different programs like this."

Siegal is using the project toward her graduate degree in health education. Her "wall of fame", just a large piece of paper for children to sign after they have participated, is actually her tracking system to statistically measure the number of children who were intrigued enough to try something new, even if it was broccoli.

Looking around the cafeteria, some children munched away at a new favorite veggie, while others nibbled with looks of concern and uncertainty. Fresh broccoli was, surprisingly, Wednesday's crowd favorite.