Vegetable packed pizza

 

As a parent, I am always looking for new and efficient ways make my kids eat more veggies because eating greens has many health benefits. Vegetables are the powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds which boost their immune system and help them to fight off the cold, flu, and other infections. Most vegetables are low in calories and fat but high in dietary fiber. The high fiber helps children stay full longer and be able to concentrate more in the school. It also aids in  having a healthy digestive system.

So how much of veggies your child should be eating? Go with More Matters! Eating fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors will provide a broad range of nutrients that they need. You also go with the MyPlate icon from the USDA recommendation to fill HALF your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal!

Getting kids to eat more veggies doesn’t have to be a fight.  Here are some creative ways to introduce and serve them.

Get them involved – Children are more invested in a meal if they help with its preparation. Take your kids with you for grocery shopping and allow them to pick a new vegetable to try.  At home, involve them in the meal preparation.  Letting them clean carrots, snap beans, mix the dressing and set the table gives them a sense of pride and makes them more enthusiastic and cooperative at meal time.

Make Vegetable look attractive- Children often prefer foods served separately. So, rather than mixed vegetables try serving two vegetables separately. You can add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves.  Try decorating the plates or serving dishes with vegetable slice

Dip it– If your kids don’t eat vegetables, experiment with dips.  Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower.

Enforce the “one bite rule”-  Research shows the “one bite rule” where the child has to try at least one mouthful of a disliked food when it is served work wonders with picky eaters. You have to make sure to expose a different kind of vegetables for at least 8-10 times before they begin to rate it more favorably.

Don’t force them to finish- Never fight and punish your child for not eating her veggies as this will create a negative meal experience and the child will learn to associate food with the bad feeling. You don’t have to be a short-order cook but try not to start a fight.

Be a good role model- Children have a natural tendency to imitate, so be a good example of healthy eating! Eating with them as a family, and if you are eating a vegetable at dinner, your child is likely to take notice and do the same, well maybe not immediately!

Here is recipe for you to try with your kids:

Technicolor Vegetable Pizzas

Preparation time: 20 minutes 

Rose colored glasses won’t be needed to appreciate the variety of colors and blend of tastes offered by these easy to make individual pizzas.

  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables with mushrooms
  • 5 slices Italian bread (1 oz. slices; each ~ 1” thick and 5” long)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup prepared pizza sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • ½ cup very finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 ½ tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:  Pre-heat oven to 350º F and place oven rack in middle-high position. Microwave frozen vegetables, then pat dry.  Brush all bread slices lightly with oil and spread each with ~ 1½ tablespoons sauce. Combine all vegetables in a medium-sized bowl. Carefully spoon vegetable mixture equally onto bread slices. Sprinkle with oregano and garlic powder and then with cheese. Bake about 5-7 minutes, until bread is brown on the edges and all vegetables are piping hot. Serve immediately.

Serves: 5

1 Cup of Vegetables per Serving

Fruit and/or Veggie Colors: Green, White, Yellow, Orange, Red [What’s This?]

Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 182, total fat: 5.0g, saturated fat: 1.1g, % calories from fat: 24%, % calories from saturated fat: 5%, protein: 6g, carbohydrates: 29g, cholesterol: 2mg, dietary fiber: 5g, sodium: 339 mg

Each serving provides: An excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber.

Sourcehttp://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/dipping-vegetable-increases-vegetable-intake-in-children

Enjoy!

Neha

 

Splash Through Summer with Peaches

Sweet and juicy peaches are one of North Carolina’s finest summer time fruits. Though they are available year round, they taste best and are less expensive during the summer. In our state, the peach industry is unique because it sells 90 percent of its crop on the fresh market, directly to the consumer, just days after being picked off the tree.

In 2014, North Carolina produced 4,380 tons of peaches (1,100 acres grown) totaling $6.2 million in value to the state’s economy. While our state may not the biggest grower, it is surely one of the best. (source: NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences)

NC peaches are available from the end of May through August. They can be found at roadside stands, farmers markets and retail outlets.

Besides their great taste, peaches are full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin and beta-carotene. Peaches are also low in calories, fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free. One medium peach contains the following nutritional value:

 

Calories 40
Protein 0.6g
Carbohydrates 10g
Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 0mg
Dietary Fiber 1.5g
Vitamin A 47RE

Peaches can be eaten fresh in salads and smoothies, as a topping for yogurt, ice cream, cereal, pancakes, or waffles, and as a filling for pies, tarts, cobblers, or strudels. They can also be grilled and served as a unique side dish with meat, fish or poultry. Peaches are also available dried, frozen, canned, and as nectar, jam or jelly.

For best quality, select peaches that are firm to slightly soft and free from bruises. The best sign of ripeness in a peach is a creamy or golden undertone, often called “ground color.” The rosy “blush” on a peach is not a good indicator of ripeness and differs from one variety to another. Fresh peach fragrance also indicates ripeness. Avoid peaches with a green ground color as they lack flavor and usually shrivel and become tough rather than ripen. Peaches that are picked green may develop more juice, but they will not become sweeter. When selecting canned peaches look for those that are labeled “packed in its own juice,” “lite,” or “no sugar added.” These are healthier choices.

When cleaning and preparing peaches, wash them by rubbing them gently under running water. If a recipe calls for peeled peaches, dip peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunge them immediately into iced water. The skins will slip right off.

Fresh peaches darken quickly when exposed to air. Prevent browning of fresh cut peaches by dipping fruit into a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. A commercial ascorbic acid mixture like Fruit Fresh can also be used to prevent browning. Store fully ripe peaches in the refrigerator, and for the best peachy taste, serve ripe peaches at room temperature. The next time you’re in the mood for a healthy and delicious fruit, grab a peach! Summer just wouldn’t be the same without the sweet taste of North Carolina peaches.

Try this easy and delicious peach recipe:

Peach Splash

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1½ cups peaches peeled and sliced or 1½ cups
  • frozen peach slices
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8-10 ice cubes (omit ice is using frozen peaches)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix well.
  2. Gradually add ice cubes and mix until finely
  3. crushed. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg.

For more Peach Pointers, check here: https://youtu.be/_37xcn1ImSM

Sources: Food Sense, Utah State University Cooperative Extension and North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Community Science

Stephanie

Fruit Smoothies

Children need 2 -3 cups of milk each day for good health and growth. Offering children milk instead of soft drinks or other sugary beverages also helps them maintain a health weight. Smoothies are a great milk treat with lots of flavor.  Check out the Fruit Smoothies recipes from Cooking with EFNEP cookbook, page 39: EFNEP's Fruit Smoothie

Mini Pizzas

For a fun after school snack, top half of a whole wheat English muffin with salsa or tomato sauce, and low fat cheese. Microwave on high until cheese is melted.

Try also adding other toppings:
green bell pepper
fresh tomato
onions
mushrooms
left over cooked chicken or ground beef
1 pepperoni cut into quarters