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Cydni & Chase’s Story

Sometimes, we get lucky and have students in food literacy class whose parents have been reinforcing healthy eating messages long before they step into our classroom. Siblings Cydni and Chase’s mom works for a local health system. She understands the value of eating fruits and veggies.

“Mom has us choosing the right things,” explains Chase. But he didn’t always understand why his mom chose to buy fruits and veggies until he took food literacy class, where he and his sister learned cooking and nutrition through hands-on recipes, science experiments and crafts.

In the 2014-15 school year, we served 735 kids weekly in five low-income schools, reaching kids like Cydni and Chase.

Chase, now in 7th grade, started food literacy class in 4th grade. His sister Cydni, now in 5th grade, started when she was in 2nd.

“I used to always try to go to junk food. Mom would stop us and ask if it’s healthy. But once we had food literacy class, we chose different foods on our own,” says Cydni. She didn’t understand why her mom didn’t want to buy her junk food until she took food literacy classes and learned about nutrition. What we were teaching her in the classroom was helping to reinforce her mom’s healthy messages, and suddenly Cydni was hooked on veggies.

Food literacy classes also helped Cydni and Chase learn to expand their diets. They used to prefer the same limited selection of fruits and veggies. Today, they’re food adventurers.

“I realized I wanted to try more new things,” says Cydni. Her mom had tried to get her to eat asparagus, but she had never liked it. During our Produce of the Day, a tasting program where we encourage students to taste new fruits and veggies, Cydni tried asparagus with her fellow students and discovered she really liked it. “I told Mom about it and she made it for me with sesame oil.”

Her brother agrees. “Trying new foods is the best way to go instead of eating what you’ve always eaten.”

With their newfound love of exploring foods and understanding nutrition, Chase and Cydni are on the path towards a healthy lifestyle.

“I learned that it’s important to look at nutrition facts. Now I look at the facts and realize that the junk food I used to get wasn’t healthy,” remembers Chase.

“Other kids should have food literacy!” Cydni chimes. “They need to know what’s better for them.”


Photograph by Amy Nicole; Amy Nicole Photography

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