Seasonal vegetables

Red CabbageFinally! I welcome the new crop of vegetables along with the change of seasons (which is exactly the same thing I say in the spring).

Despite the fact we have dozens of veggies from which to choose, don’t we always reach for our favorites? So, by the end of the season, we’re a bit tired of the old, let’s bring in the new.

A student asked me what “seasonal” meant which is really a deeper question than it first seems. The easiest answer: whatever is in abundance at the market is most likely “in season”. My grocery had huge displays of sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and kale this week.

My student’s question highlights the fact that in the US, at most markets, we can buy practically any fruit or vegetable throughout the year. But should we?brocollini

When you buy out of season, besides the hit you take in the wallet, flavor will be mediocre, at best. We can all tell the difference between the summer tomato from the farmer’s market and the anemic looking, tasteless winter tomato, right?

The longer the journey from the farm to your fork, the greater the chance your produce wasn’t picked at its peak ripeness. Our produce is at its nutritional peak when it’s ripened in the garden.

We’re enjoying broccolini these days as I saw it used in a recipe (which at my house is just source material and is never used). If you’ve not tried broccolini, give it a go. It’s a cousin of our conventional broccoli with many of the same nutritional pluses: fat free, no cholesterol, very low in sodium and high in vitamins A, C and K. The other healthy plant chemicals in broccoli are in broccolini too. It tends to have a milder taste than broccoli so it might be appealing to the whole family.

Tell me what seasonal vegetable you are happiest to see. Cheers to a new season of vegetables to be well,

Marcia

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One step stool, two sleeves rolled up

kidshatevegetablesHow do I get my kids to eat better? Easily the most common question I hear. The answer is not only simple but easy!

Provide those kids with one step stool, roll up their two sleeves and get them to help you prepare a meal or snack. The solution holds true for the husband, too, though he will probably not need the step stool.

While I certainly don’t mean anything sexist by assuming it’s the mom in the family that gets food and meals together, but statistically, it is the mom!

We moms not only want everyone eating and loving our cooking, but we’d appreciate a little help. The further you can back up that help, the more “buy in” you have from the family.

Here are a couple examples. If your little one is capable of putting napkins on the table, chances are she’ll use the napkin (admittedly “she” fits the example better then “he”).

Clean-Produce-Thoroughly-202x300If your son can wash veggies, he’ll proudly do that; pour some dip in a bowl and you’ve got him eating out of…well his own dish.

Your child’s middle school science class most likely involves learning how to measure; you can draft your future scientist into measuring or weighing ingredients for you. Backing up even further, could you survey the family as to what they want from the grocery? Will it be pears or apples this week? Chicken or fish on the grill? And if you can send them to the store all the better – remember the list!

When Susie tells you she can’t stand another carrot stick, ask her to find a recipe using carrots she would like – carrot cake doesn’t count. In no time, the family will be getting out graph paper to plot next summer’s garden.

Include the family in healthy meal choices and prep to be well,

Marcia

PS It’s Popcorn Popping Month – are you prepared?

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