Program Overview

SuperFood Heroes® is a taste testing and nutrition education intervention designed to increase vegetable consumption among elementary school students. Research suggests that children’s taste preferences develop early on and that repeated exposure to specific foods can help to increase children’s preference for them. The taste preferences that young people develop are often maintained into adulthood.

This research-based intervention educates students on the “superhero-like” nutrients that vegetables provide in our diet. SuperFood Heroes® was created by Welborn Baptist Foundation’s school-based health initiative program, Upgrade in Schools ™ (formerly named HEROES), in response to the 2012changes in the USDA school food standards and to encourage students to consume more of the healthy options offered in the school cafeteria. The intervention lasts for a minimum of 10 weeks and provides opportunities for students to sample 3-5 different vegetables. Research shows that the more times children taste a food, the more likely they are to begin liking the food. Sometimes, however, it can take 8 or more times of trying the same food to develop a preference for the food. Because of this, students are encouraged to taste the same vegetable multiple times, prepared in a variety of ways. The program is designed for 3rd and 4th grade levels, although the intervention may also be provided to other grade levels.

Participating schools in the Indiana-Illinois-Kentucky tristate area partnered with Welborn Baptist Foundation and Indiana University to collect taste preference data before and after the intervention. Research continues to be conducted by Limelight Analytics based in Bloomington, Indiana along with selected school partners