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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Spilling the beans: A preschool gardening and nutrition education curriculum to increase the use of dry edible beans)

item Robinson-garden, Julie
item Wang, Stacey
item Whigham Grendell, Leah

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Childhood obesity is a topic of concern nationwide, and the nutrition lessons learned early in childhood can have lifelong impacts. Gardening and other hands-on activities have been shown to be excellent methods to promote changes in children’s diets, especially as a means of improving vegetable consumption. Research has shown that sometimes it takes 10 or more exposures to new foods before children will accept them, and tasting foods with peers can promote increased acceptance of new foods. Dry edible beans are an economical menu choice; however, in past years, they have been underutilized as protein sources in the diet. Adding dry edible beans to a healthful diet may help with blood sugar management for diabetes patients, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels, may help prevent certain types of cancer, and may help provide satiety when used in weight-management diets. The objectives of the four-lesson “Spilling the Beans” curriculum, which was reviewed by child development experts, are the following: 1) Parents will be able to identify health benefits associated with beans; 2) Children will increase their knowledge of gardening; 3) Children will improve their knowledge of MyPlate; 4) Children will increase their awareness of different varieties of beans; and 5) Children and parents will have the opportunity to taste/try recipes containing beans. Forty seven families participated in the pilot project. Parents/caregivers significantly increased their awareness of beans as a source of fiber and folate and the link between beans and blood sugar management. The use of canned beans among the families significantly increased. About 88% of the parents reported reading the newsletter, 69% said their child talked about beans, 83% reported that their child talked about the gardening, and 85% of the children talked about tasting bean recipes. This project was supported by the national Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (

Last Modified: 05/27/2017
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