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Tru Tips – K-12 Program

According to a mounting body of research, communicating about your meal offerings in the cafeteria, classroom and community may improve students’ knowledge of beans, their willingness to try them, their preferences for them, and the frequency they consume them.

It takes communicating via multiple channels over a sustained period of time to have an effect. It is worth keeping at it. Engage others in the school and community to help you. Here are 12 evidence-based Truitt Tips you can use to market beans and other legumes:

Rename It!
What a food is named significantly influences students’ initial perceptions of it. Try renaming beans with jazzier names or better yet ask the students to name the beans and bean dishes. “Heck yeah hummus”

Reframe It!: Sing a new song

Beans are great for counting, sprouting and often used in art projects, but did you know they could also inspire a school-wide song writing competition? Seems most nearly all kids know the lyrics to “beans beans they are good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you….” In fact, this is often students first exposure, so no wonder they are reluctant to eat them.

Students need incentive to change social norms and culture. So, help them to re-norm beans! Challenge students to re-write the lyrics. You’ll be surprised at what they come up with and the positive impact it has on students’ attitudes towards legumes. Want to spread the positive impact? Think of ways to increase visibility of the winning song(s) expand the impact, get the song more visible offer prizes, or have the students perform it in the cafeteria, on morning announcements, or make a video of it and post. Can you give prizes?

Stamps and stickers

Visually acknowledging students’ bean consumption with “I tried it” or “Ask me about” stickers or passport stamps can go a long way towards starting more conversations with classmates and parents. Plus, who doesn’t love stickers? (Well, sometimes janitors who ban stickers in schools, but then you can use a stamp just as effectively.)
"Eat Your Beans!" says Alfonso Garbanzo

If they grow it they will eat it.

Beans are easy to grow in a cup in the classroom. Lots of schools make bean tee-pees. It's the kids' favorite spot! Find out how at Rootopia.com.

Bulletin boards

Connect with a teacher or after school club and have students create an engaging, fun and informative bean bulletin board everyone can see as they are walking through the halls.

Celebrate with beans

Serve and promote beans in unique ways to celebrate a holiday like Creepy Halloween Hummus

Honor cultures

Beans are a staple in traditional cultures worldwide. Throughout the school year highlight menu items that feature different cultural uses of beans through promotions like a “Middle East Feast”

Point of decision signs

Place posters, window clings and table tents of the product attributes and producers on the food lines and cafeteria walls so students have more information and repeated exposure to beans and bean farmers.

Morning announcements

Frequently broadcasted messages on the PA system in schools work. Try morning announcements everyday for a week and see just how many more kids take, try and eat beans. If possible, it is best if kids make up and say the bean promotion announcements themselves, but here are some to get your started:
• “Beans, beans they are good for your lunch! Try some protein packed delicious beans today.”
• “Garbanzo is just fun to say, and even better to eat. Choose them at lunch today.”
• “You rock. Beans roll. You know what to do. Eat beans and rock and roll your way through the day.”

Engage teachers

There are already preK-12 activities Ask the principal to send out these materials to teachers with a note about Teachers can also distribute printed family newsletter home in students’ backpacks. Farmers in the classroom…. In the school garden.

Engage families

Students are more likely to eat beans at school if they are use to seeing them at home and elsewhere in the community. Lots of states have developed Harvest of the Month type newsletters in English, Spanish and other languages. Ask your Department of Education for the materials and then pass them along to the principal or PTA to include links to the electronic family newsletters and activities featuring beans in their weekly communications. Do a family recipe book and

Tell your story and get Social

Everyone is curious and talking about school food. Let the community share your stories for you. Post on Facebook letting community know about the foods you serving. Communicate regularly about the food you serve and promotional Each of the above activities would be worthy of at least 1-2 Facebook posts. You can also promote meal offerings and activities on your website and invite legislators to the lunchroom, and the local media to special events.

Tru Kids Characters

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