Who says kids don't like food that's good for them?

When Stevenson Elementary School students were offered the chance to sample a cucumber round -- an appetizer made with hard-boiled egg, cucumber and minced red onion -- during their lunch period Feb. 2, kindergarten student Arlie Hill didn't need coaxing.

He eagerly took his first sample, then asked for a second helping -- and then a third.

"I like to try things," Arlie said. "This is really good. I like eggs and cucumber."

A different recipe is featured weekly in Stevenson's Fresh Food Fridays, an addition to the monthly Foodie Fridays program held at the school.

Both programs are designed to get youngsters to try healthful food items, said food service director Carol Hamilton.

"They are an extension of our district's overall vision for wellness for life for our students," she said. "They were ideas that came out of our district wellness committee."

Students are better prepared to learn if they are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, Hamilton said.

"Making the right food choices is an important part of that," she said. "I have to say that in Grandview, many of our students are exposed to healthy foods at home."

Foodie Fridays are held the first Friday of each month.

"Each month we feature a different food they can sample," Hamilton said. "We tell them a little bit about what they are getting to try, why they are good for you and the different ways you can enjoy them."

All students are offered the samples, whether they buy lunch at school or bring a packed meal from home.

In December, Foodie Fridays offered roasted yellow and red beets.

Black-eyed peas -- a traditional New Year's Day dish -- were featured in January.

In honor of Valentine's Day, students were offered dark chocolate Feb. 2.

"It's a healthier choice than regular milk chocolate," Hamilton said. "It's better for your heart and is lower in sugar."

The Fresh Food Fridays recipes all feature six or fewer ingredients with an emphasis on good nutrition, she said.

"We started doing the recipe program after we returned from the holiday break," Hamilton said. "We're inviting families to submit their own recipes and we'll mention them to the students if we use their suggestion."

Initial recipes have included kale salad and Mexican brown rice salad.

"The cucumber round recipe we selected (for Feb. 2) was a good choice that families could make at home as a Super Bowl Sunday appetizer," Hamilton said.

Each week's recipe is posted on the food-service page at the district's website, ghcsd.org.

Not surprisingly, the dark chocolate was a big hit among kindergarten students during their lunch time, though the cucumber rounds received a mixed reaction -- from those willing to try them.

Many of the students declined Hamilton's offer of the cucumber rounds, but almost all of them asked for the chocolate samples.

"The chocolate was really good," said Tolliver Betz. "It tasted like chocolate chips, like what you get in cookies."

The cucumber rounds weren't quite as appealing, he said.

"I don't really like eggs too much," Tolliver said.

Ronan Zwink said he looks forward to Foodie Fridays.

"It's fun to try something new, even if you don't like it," he said.

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