Orange you glad you learned more about fruits and veggies?

As I sit in my college room this morning, realizing that summer is officially over for me and I am now entering my senior year of college, I can’t help but to think about all the opportunities I was blessed with this past year. Working for the Allentown Health Bureau as the Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move truck driver has been one of the most amazing experiences ever. This job opened my eyes up to the world of public health and made me see that change doesn’t come right away but, overtime we can work together to reach our goal.

Black apricots, baby carrots, and snap peas!

Black apricots, baby carrots, and snap peas!

This past week I gave out black velvet apricots, baby carrots, and snap peas. It amazes me how when the summer goes on that the kids start to ask for more veggies! Towards the end of the park program I had kids coming up to me asking me for more snap peas and baby carrots. Encouraging a kid to eat their veggies can be hard, especially when they are not used to seeing that certain vegetable at home. In a psychological view point, kids need to see other people eating that certain vegetable to realize that it is not “yucky.” I will see this chain reaction happen a lot at the parks. For example, I would give a kid a slice of a summer squash and he would spit it out, once another kid sees this he refuses to try the vegetable. Parents can play an important role by encouraging their child to try new things and eating different kinds of foods together.

Look how beautiful all those colors are mixed together!

Look how beautiful all those colors are mixed together!

Black Velvet Apricots

When I walked into Elias Farmers Market to get my fruit last week I was as surprised as everyone else to see black apricots for sale! Never have I heard about this delicious type of fruit, but now I am hooked to their sweet and juicy flavor. Black velvet apricots are, as you would assume, a cross between apricots and plums. The outside of this fruit looks like a plum but, when you bight into it the inside looks like the flesh of an apricot! The benefits of black velvet apricots are the same as a normal apricot. They are high in vitamin C and A and have a rich source of dietary fiber. Check out this bloggers recipe for black velvet apricot jam! It’s a great spread to put on whole wheat toast in the morning for your kids. http://foodinjars.com/2013/06/small-batch-black-velvet-apricot-jam-recipe/

Lessons with your child:

Play a non competitive game with your child to encourage fun physical activity! For example, form a circle with enough chairs for all your family members but one (this works out great if you have cousins or friends over too.) Have one child stand in the middle of the circle and make a statement. For example, everyone wearing the color red, make a move. All players who identify with the statement must move to a new chair. The person left standing has the opportunity to make a new statement. Continue the process until everyone has had the chance to be in the middle of the circle.

Thank you!

I want to take this moment to thank all the people who have supported me with this blog this past year. It was through all your encouragement that I was able to keep this going. I hope that my blog has helped many people learn more about fruits and vegetables and opened their eyes to the many things you can do to live a healthier lifestyle. Though I am sad to end my days as the Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move truck driver, I am more than blessed that I got to take part in this amazing experience. Thank you again and remember starting a healthier lifestyle today can impact your life and your child’s life for the better!

My last event as the Fruit and Veggie Lady!

My last event as the Fruit and Veggie Lady!

 

Boobies, babies, fruits, and veggies: start nutrition right!

A healthy lifestyle for your child should begin from the very start of life! Breastfeeding is not just the ideal but, the best way to start feeding your child from the very second they are born. According to the Lehigh Valley Breastfeeding Coalition, consisting of lactation consultants and counselors, nurses, public health nutritionists, and mothers, breast milk should be the first form of nutrition a baby needs. This week the Fruit and Veggie On-The-Move Truck collaborated with the Lehigh Valley Breastfeeding Coalition at the Big Latch to promote a healthy lifestyle from the start.

Alexandra Sodl, RD, LDN (The person I work closely with and the original fruit and veggie lady) and I at the Big Latch this past weekend.

Alexandra Sodl, RD, LDN (The person I work closely with and the original fruit and veggie lady) and I at the Big Latch this past weekend.

Plums and peppers were the fruit and veggie choice of the week for the park program kids. I could not believe how many children did not know what plums were or have never eaten one before. At one park with a total of 37 children, at least 10 of them never ate a plum before. This was very heartbreaking to me because plums generally are not expensive summer fruit. Also, more than half the children I gave plums to this week thought they were apples instead. The colored bell peppers that we gave to the kids went well despite problems last year with many kids thinking they were all spicy. I can not stress more to families how important it is to educate your child on different types of fruits and veggies from the beginning, just as important as breastfeeding. (Shout out to my mommy, an internationally board lactation consultant who breastfed me and introduced me to the wonderful world of fruits and veggies) Introducing your child to a wide range of different fruits and veggies will help them to eat healthier and continue to throughout their life.

plum and peppers

Colored Bell Peppers

I love bell peppers because they are a great veggie to add to a lot of meals. According to livestrong.com, bell peppers add more than color and crunch to meals, they are high in vitamin A and C and also contain folate, which supports the functioning of red blood cells and is especially important for pregnant women because it helps prevent certain types of birth defects in unborn children. Many of my college roommates know, I love to cook chicken fajitas, especially because of all the colored bell peppers I use! I take the peppers, cut them in strips, then sauté them with a little bit of olive oil, purple onions, salt, and pepper. After I sauté the peppers and onions together I make some chicken and mix the two items together to make a delicious dish that can be eaten alone or with some rice and whole wheat wraps. Try it one night with your family for a Mexican theme night, I guarantee you that it will be a big hit!

Colored Bell Peppers!

Colored Bell Peppers!

Lessons with your child:

Make faces out of fruits and vegetables and have your child name each food along with what part of the face it is. For example, use grapes for the eyes and a pepper slice for the mouth. Try and use different types of fruits and veggies to familiarize your child to a variety of foods.

 

 

Eat the rainbow, taste the rainbow

When it comes to starting a healthy lifestyle, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a great way to start. Colorful fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals your body needs for a variety of things. For example, reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer. So put those skittles down! The new saying is: “eat the rainbow, taste the rainbow…fruits and vegetables! ”

This week we wanted to really introduce a colorful diet to the kids so we gave out, red cherries, orange baby carrots, and green snap peas. The cups looked beautiful with all the colors mixed together! The children really enjoyed all the fruits and vegetables this week and this was the first time that I only got one or two complaints from the kids on what they were getting. I always have those one or two kids that are afraid to try the fruit or vegetable of the week but, I always can convince them to at least take a bite. With their 8 oz. water bottles in hand (each kid gets one for free every week courtesy of Nestle) and their fruit and veggie cup in the other, it was a great site to see all the kids sit down in the shade to enjoy their “taste of the rainbow.”

A fully loaded truck!

A fully loaded truck!

Cherries!

According to EatingWell.com, cherries contain a good amount of potassium which helps ease muscle soreness and lower blood pressure. Also, sweet cherries are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyanins (remember these were in blueberries) and quercetin, which may work together synergistically to fight cancer, how awesome?! It is really easy to incorporate cherries into your diet. I like to add them to my smoothies and salads. Check out this delicious and simple smoothie recipe that this blogger created on their website called “Simple Daily Recipes:” http://simpledailyrecipes.com/97256/cashew-smoothie-with-spinach-and-cherries/ This blogger took an interesting combination of healthy foods to create a tasty treat!

Lessons with your child:

For dessert one night on a rainy day, make fruit kabobs! Buy skewers and red, orange, yellow, green, blue/indigo, and violet fruits. Cut them up into small pieces and place them in that color order on the sticks, to resemble a rainbow. Teach your child about the color spectrum, how healthy it is to eat colorful fruits and veggies. Your child will love to make an artsy dessert that tastes sweet along with learning about the rainbow. Maybe you will be lucky enough to catch a beautiful rainbow outside!

Taken from Happy Home Fairy wordpress. com blogger

Taken from Happy Home Fairy wordpress. com blogger

 

 

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?

Those aren’t oranges!

Another week has come to an end for the fruit and veggie on-the-move truck! This past week gave us a few challenges with the rain but, we had more challenges explaining to the camp kids that apricots were not oranges.

For this past week we gave the kids: plums, apricots, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes. As usual, they loved getting their weekly dose of fresh fruits and veggies but, most of them thought the apricots were oranges! After explaining to the kids that the fruits we were giving them were apricots they all tasted them and fell in love. Finally, after handing out all the cups, kids were coming back to the truck asking for more yummy apricots.

Plums, apricots, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers for week 2!

Plums, apricots, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers for week 2!

The super food for this week are apricots!

These delicious summertime fruits are packed with vitamin A and C. Apricots are also filled with nutrients that can help protect the heart and eyes. The high amount of fiber in this fuzzy orange fruit can also help fight certain diseases.  Apricots also contain tryptophan and potassium. This May through August fruit  is not just a summertime treat though. In the winter buy some dried apricots which can still give you the same amount of benefits as eating them fresh and whole. So hurry up and grab some fresh apricots today from your local farmers market before August comes around !

Try some fresh and fiber filled apricots today!

Try some fresh and fiber filled apricots today!