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P80 Exposure to Healthy Food Increases Food Preferences Among Children and Youth in Low-Income School Settings

      Objective

      To increase healthy food preference through taste tests among children and youth

      Use of Theory or Research

      This study utilized the short-term outcome indicator of the SNAP-Ed evaluation framework to examine food preference intention at the individual level, from tasting a variety of foods from the 5 food groups, consistent with Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

      Target Audience

      K-8th graders in SNAP-Ed eligible schools across 2 counties of Central California.

      Program Description

      In 2019-20, Calfresh Healthy Living, UC (CFHL, UC) nutrition education program was implemented with tasting activities among K-8th graders. Youth taste tests occurred as part of the direct and indirect nutrition education, and policy, systems, and environment initiatives in collaboration with community partners.

      Evaluation Methods

      Nutrition educators administered the Youth Taste Testing Tool to capture student intention in food preferences immediately following food tastings. Descriptive analysis was performed. In Tulare county, 363 tastings were conducted and in Kings county, 106 tastings were conducted.

      Results

      In Tulare county, of the 7,614 students tasting variety of food, 14% of students tasted the target food before, 97% tried it today, 81% were willing to eat it again, and 79% were willing to ask for it at home. In Kings county, of the 1,920 students tasting variety of food, 31% of students tasted the target food before, 98% tried it today, 84% were willing to eat it again, and 82% were willing to ask for it at home. Foods tasted were from all food groups- fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy and served raw, paired with a familiar food, cooked or included in a mixed dish.

      Conclusion

      Taste tests provide opportunity to try a variety of foods from 5 food groups that compose MyPlate which is a promising strategy for promoting healthy food preferences among children and youth. Healthy food preferences, in turn, are associated with healthy food consumption patterns.
      Funding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.

      Appendix. Supplementary data