Summer is here and fruits and vegetables are near!

After one long and horrible winter, it is great that summer finally arrived. The Allentown park program is starting up soon and with summer here, fruits and veggies are near! I’ll be back again this season working with the Fruits and Veggies On-The-Move truck, a program started by the Allentown Health Bureau four years ago to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to inner-city children in Allentown.

I was so pleased with how successful my blog was last year that I decided to start it up again this summer! I am planning on doing the same format that I did last year, for example, talk about what I delivered that week along with the children’s reactions and a special fruit or veggie of that week. This year I would like to add some great healthy recipes that I have created or found and give some ideas for fun and educational lessons that you can do with your child this summer.

Each step you make to encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables will help them to gain lifelong habits of healthy eating! I hope that my blog will help push healthy eating for not just your child but for your entire family as well. After all, “a healthy outside starts from the inside” (Robert Urich).

Enjoy!

This is a picture of me last year ready to give out all the cups I made filled with yummy fruits and vegetables.

This is a picture of me last year ready to give out all the cups I made filled with yummy fruits and vegetables.

Oh Snap! The end of the summer has arrived!

The summer has finally come to an end for the Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck! For the last week of the summer program we tried to bring back some of the favorite fruits and veggies for the park program children.

This past week we served strawberries, apricots, baby carrots, snap peas, and cucumbers. We wanted to serve the favorite fruits and veggies to the kids, especially the ones that the kids grown to love like snap peas. The park children were upset to see that this was the last week of camp and the last week that they will be receiving some tasty summer fruits and veggies. Being the fruit and vegetable lady this summer really opened my eyes to what was really occurring with inner-city kids through a health and physical fitness aspect of their lives. A lot of these kids do not have access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily nor do they get more than a few minutes of physical fitness activity a day! Childhood obesity is a scary epidemic and it can be easily stopped by making healthier choices for your kids and encouraging them to enjoy about sixty minutes of physical activity a day. I must say I was very lucky to have an amazing job this summer working at the Allentown Health Bureau and I gained a lot of knowledge in the area of public health. I am also blessed that I have parents who encouraged me to eat my fruits and vegetables daily along with pushing me to enjoy more than sixty minutes of physical activity a day. As a young girl I began my life with a great foundation of healthy habits that allowed me to become the healthy 20 year old girl that I am today. It is easy to start your kids on a great healthy kick today that will impact their life for the better!

Strawberries, baby carrots, and cucumbers on a nice sunny day!

Strawberries, baby carrots, snap peas, and cucumbers on a nice sunny day!

Apricots, baby carrots, and cucumbers are a great refreshing combination!

Apricots, baby carrots, and cucumbers are a great refreshing combination!

Oh Snap! Sugar Snap peas are the Super food of the week! 

Sugar snap peas, a great source of fiber, folate, and iron, are a green vegetable with little peas inside of them. These tasty and healthy treats are great for warding off those unwanted summer colds because they have 14% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. Sugar snap peas also have vitamin K which help with bone health because this vitamin is responsible for helping your body use calcium correctly. These cute little pea pods also contain a lot of other vital nutrients like riboflavin, thiamin, manganese, and potassium. This vegetable is best enjoyed in salads, many dinner dishes like stir fry, or just simply by itself as a light and refreshing snack!

Sugar Snap Peas!! A nice serving that will help save  you from those unwanted summer colds!

Sugar Snap Peas!! A nice serving that will help save you from those unwanted summer colds!

That is it for Ronya Nassar’s Healthy Summer Adventures! Thank you all for your support in my blog and I hope everyone has a great rest of their summer. Stay tune for next summer as the City of Allentown’s Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck will be riding around again delivering fresh fruits and veggies to the park and school-ground kids. In the meantime, make sure you keep eating your fruits and veggies!

-Ronya Nassar

Myself posing with the City of Allentown's Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck!

Myself posing with the City of Allentown’s Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck!

A berry rainy week!

It was a very rainy week for the Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck! Though it was very short, we still made sure that the kids got their healthy kick for the week.

This week is the second to last week I will be delivering fruits and veggies to the park program kids. We served strawberries, cherries, cucumbers, and baby carrots this time to the children. Every week, kids embrace the different types of fruits and veggies we provide for them. Cucumbers were the veggie of the week that kids grew to like after I served them. It is great that I get the opportunity to serve these healthy fruits and vegetables to these kids because I am teaching them to enjoy foods that are good for them. Especially because these kids are outside a lot and moving around, giving them a small serving of fruits and veggies allows them to get all natural energy that will keep them moving all day.

Cherries, baby carrots, and cucumbers. All such pretty colors together!

Cherries, baby carrots, and cucumbers. All such pretty colors together!

Strawberries, baby carrots, and cucumbers. A lovely combo of fruits and veggies!

Strawberries, baby carrots, and cucumbers. A lovely combo of fruits and veggies!

Cucumbers: The Superfood of the week! 

Cucumbers have many health benefits beyond belief! First and foremost cucumbers are a great source of vitamin B. Made up of 95% water, this green vegetable is great for replenishing the body. This means that cucumbers are great for hydrating the body while helping to release toxins. Instead of giving your kids soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, add cucumbers to water in a mason jar with some extra added fruit for a great summer drink that kids will love. Surprisingly, this vegetable contains special phytochemicals that can help relieve bad breath. So take a cucumber and hold it to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds to get quick refreshing breath. Lastly, this fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world, can help promote joint health, relieve gout, and arthritis pain because it contains an excellent source of silica which helps with joining connective tissue in the body. Try mixing cucumbers with carrot juice for ultimate gout and arthritis relief. Cucumbers are found during all seasons so you can enjoy this refreshing vegetable year round. Mix cucumbers with some Greek yogurt for a great protein pick me up, add it to a salad for extra vitamins, or put some in your sandwich for an extra healthy twist.

Cucumbers can help relieve bad breath! Press them to the roof of your mouth for instant refreshing breath.

Cucumbers can help relieve bad breath! Press them to the roof of your mouth for instant refreshing breath.

Jica what? Jicama!

The Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck tried something different this week that was a little out of the ordinary for your normal vegetable!

This past week I served to the park kids sugar plums, grape tomatoes, baby carrots, and jicama (pronounced hic-a-ma.) Now, you probably just read that and asked yourself, “what’s a jicama?” Don’t worry because you were not the only one who questioned what a jicama was! Jicama (also called yambean) is a Mexican root vegetable that is closely related to the potato family. When all the kids saw the french fry style cut vegetable in their cups this week they all thought it was either a cheese stick or an apple slice. I had a few kids asked me if it gave them the hiccups, sorry kids but not this vegetable. The way I described this out of the ordinary vegetable was by telling the kids that it is “like a potato but taste like a less flavored apple.” There were a lot of mix reviews about the jicama, which most of the kids have never heard about, but overall kids enjoyed the refreshing taste. The other interesting item I served this week were sugar plums, and no I am not talking about the ones that dance in your head during Christmas time. These sugar plums are a fruit that are oval shape and are very very very sweet version of a normal plum. Kids went crazy over the sugar plums because they tasted like candy. This past week was a week of trying new things and I get really happy when I see kids tasting new healthy fruits and veggies and wanting more of them too!

Purple sugar plums, red grape tomatoes, orange carrots, and white jicama make for a great color scheme in the cups!

Purple sugar plums, red grape tomatoes, orange carrots, and white jicama make for a great color scheme in the cups!

A very appetizing mix of fruits and veggies!

A very appetizing mix of fruits and veggies!

Jicama is the super food of the week!!!! 

This white and starchy vegetable contains a lot of fiber that is perfect for a daily serving. This vegetable just doesn’t contain any old type of fiber though, jicama’s fiber is infused with oligofructose inulin, which has zero calories and doesn’t metabolize in the body. Jicama also contains inulin, a prebiotic, that helps allow for good bacteria growth in the intestine providing for better immunity and possibly helping against colon cancer. This Mexican root vegetable is also great for diabetics because of its very low-glycemic index. Also, if you are looking to shred a few pounds jicama is very low calorie! Lastly, jicama contains an amazing source of vitamin C, about 44% of your daily value serving. To enjoy jicama, add it to a balsamic based salad to soak up the dressing or simply just sprinkle lime juice over it and enjoy as a light snack.

Jica what? Jicama! Yummm, cut up Jicama from Wegmans!

Jica what? Jicama! Yummm, cut up Jicama from Wegmans!

Call George Washington to cut down a cherry tree!

Though it was very hot and humid this past week, the Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck kept rolling to deliver some healthy and refreshing snacks for the park program kids!

This past week had to have been the most successful picks of fruit and vegetables for the kids. I served cherries, baby carrots, and snap peas to the children, who all went crazy over those delicious treats. The kids, whose eyes popped wide open when they saw the big bowl of cherries I had in my truck, wanted seconds and even thirds of their weekly snack. I was really happy when I saw kids eating snap peas, a vegetable most of them did not know existed, and enjoying them as well! I love to see kids trying new healthy foods every day and enjoying them because every little step they take they are improving on their overall health!

Cherries from Elias Farmers Market, and  snap peas and baby carrots from Wegmans.

Cherries from Elias Farmers Market, and snap peas and baby carrots from Wegmans.

One delicious cup coming right up!!

One delicious cup coming right up!!

Cherries: The superfood of the week!!!!! 

Finally, it is summertime and cherries are in season and tasting great! This powerfully packed fruit is filled with nutrients that help improve your overall health. Loaded with many antioxidants, cherries help ease pain, lower cholesterol, fight memory loss, reduce stress, aid with weight loss, and even help prevent heart disease. This tasty fruit with a pit inside can also help you sleep better because they contain high levels of melatonin, the bodies natural sleep aid. Cherries also have a lot of fiber! For cancer prevention, these little red fruits contain queritrin, an anticancer agent, and ellagic acid. This fruit can be enjoyed raw, cooked, frozen, or dried for added flavor in any type of meal. So call up your George Washington friend today and have him cut down a cherry tree for a sweet and healthy treat!

But did little George Washington really cut down a cherry tree?

But did little George Washington really cut down a cherry tree?

More grapes please!

Another week has come to an end again for Allentown’s Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck and I have never seen so many kids excited to eat some fresh red grapes!

This week we served red grapes, forelle pears, summer green squash, and summer yellow squash. The kids were more than excited to see a big bowl of red grapes in my trunk this time and they kept coming back for more fruits! I love to see the enthusiasm in the kids when I hand them their fruit and veggie cups and it makes me happy to see them enjoying their weekly healthy treat. This week after an ice cream truck passed by the park, we asked the kids what they liked more, the ice cream truck or the fruit and veggie truck? One younger boy replied, “the fruit and veggie truck!” Without even asking why the young boy liked our truck more the kid then said, “i like it because it’s healthier.” Hearing that truly made me happy because I know I am doing something that these kids benefit from and also enjoy.

Ready to serve for the kids!

Ready to serve for the kids!

Fresh pears, grapes, and summer squash!!

Fresh pears, grapes, and summer squash!!

The superfood of the week are grapes!

Grapes are a great summertime fruit to enjoy and they contain an amazing amount of vitamins, for example vitamins A, C, and B6. They also contain a great source of antioxidants and folate. Though these tasty fruits can help prevent heart disease, people with blood sugar problems can only limit themselves to a few grapes because of their high amounts of natural sugar. Enjoy them in green, red, and purple, grapes are great to put in any breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert entree for added taste and color. Try them in a salad or on top of a piece of chicken or salmon today!

Grapes contain a great source of antioxidants!

Grapes contain a great source of antioxidants!

 

 

A lot of sweet for one week!

A new approach was taken this week for the Fruits and Veggies On-The-Move Truck and let me tell you how “sweet” it was!

This week I delivered peaches, blueberries, sugar snap peas, and colored bell peppers. Even though I delivered the usual two fruits and two vegetables, everything that was given was sweet tasting. I thought that this was a good idea because the kids always want something sweet to eat. The assorted colored bell peppers were the hardest things for kids to eat this week especially because they thought they were hot but, as usual once they tried the veggie they wanted more! I continue to anticipate how the kids will react each time I give them their special fruit and veggie cup for the week.

The Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck is fully loaded and ready to serve!!

The Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck is fully loaded and ready to serve!!

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Peaches, blueberries, sugar snap peas, and colored peppers OH MY YUMMY!

Colored Bell Peppers are the Super Food of the Week! 

Assorted bell peppers do not just add color to your meal but, they add a lot of macro nutrients of fiber and protein to help you feel fuller longer! Colored peppers contain a lot of vitamins and antioxidants as well that can help reduce heart disease, some cancers, and cataracts. These sweet-tasting veggies can also help alleviate symptoms of asthma and arthritis. Also, these veggies contain minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus which are used for bones, muscle, and nerve function. Add these pretty little veggies into a salad or with grilled chicken for some homemade fajitas that will please everyone and their bodies!