Guide to Introduce Students to Mushrooms
Trying new foods can be a hard experience, especially for younger students and those not accustomed to trying a variety of foods. Special events and celebrations, like National Farm to School Month, are a great time to familiarize students with new foods, like mushrooms!
Need ideas on how to introduce your students to mushrooms? Follow these tried and true steps, utilizing our recommended resources, to make mushrooms a favorite food in your school district!
1) Start with a Familiar Environment
Introducing students to mushrooms in the classroom is the best first step. By October, students are comfortable with their classroom. Teacher buy-in also fosters an environment where the students are comfortable with new adventures by role modeling. From mushroom nutrition to growing and processing, our resources can be used to reinforce and promote nutrition and sustainability education with your students. Our Classroom Education Curricula includes games, trivia, and easy to use lesson plans for all grade levels.
Elementary aged students love stickers (who doesn’t?)! When providing a nutrition or classroom education lesson add these stickers to the lineup.
*Pro tip: Use the stickers as a badge of honor for each student who tries a mushroom. Try printing the stickers on clear “paper”.
2) Create a Relationship
Everyone is more likely to try food when they have a personal story attached. Introduce students to mushrooms by growing mushrooms in your garden or classrooms. We have agriculture and sustainability resources to print as handouts. Farm to School Month can be celebrated by adding mushroom facts to announcements or social media [need templates? Click here].
Another Farm to School Month celebration idea is to host a local mushroom grower at your school. This activity is perfect for any age. [Remember most students have never met a farmer]. If you are thinking about procuring local mushrooms to celebrate, check out our Sourcing Catalog – don’t forget to identify your local mushrooms with our Product Identifiers and Tasty Mushrooms Point of Sale template.
3) Introduce Multiple Times
The more frequently mushrooms can be introduced, the greater likelihood students will accept them. When looking to celebrate Farm to School Month, consider celebrating during a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) or a Head-start/Pre-K Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) snack or meal. Mushrooms can be added to favorite supper recipes, included as part of a snack, or incorporated into a nutrition education lesson for these programs.
Utilizing programs already operating in your schools provides a simple way to introduce mushrooms.
4) Add to Favorite Recipes
Combining student favorite recipes with mushrooms is a simple step for school nutrition staff. Whether you are looking to enhance your pizza or burger, we have eye-catching marketing resources to add on the service line.
Looking for global flavor recipes? Check out our recipe collection.
5) Don’t Give Up!
Students often need to try a new food 10-15 times before accepting it. Texture, flavor combinations, and smells play a role in the student accepting a new food. To keep students curious, provide mushroom samples in a variety of recipes – don’t only offer roasted mushrooms.
Mushrooms in Schools is here to help introduce students to mushrooms. Visit our Layers of Flavoring Culinary Training Course if you would like to add more mushrooms to your recipes.
Have more questions when it comes to mushroom tasting? We’re here to help! Email us at SchoolMeals@mushroomcouncil.org and we’ll get right back to you.