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.

 

 

Squash the heat with a berry good treat!

Summer is a great time to get a different variety of fruits and vegetables, especially refreshing ones. So “squash” the heat for a “berry” good treat during this time of year!

Strawberries and summer squash!

Strawberries and summer squash!

This week, the fruit and veggie on-the-move truck gave out strawberries, blueberries, and green and yellow summer squash. All great and tasty summer fruits and vegetables (well technically all fruit because squash is considered a fruit in nature,) these foods can be quite refreshing and delicious during the summer time. I enjoyed hearing the reactions from the kids when they saw the yellow and green squash: “is that a lemon?” “are we allowed to eat that?” Though the yellow squash did look like a lemon from far away, I did chuckle when the kids asked me if they could eat the yellow and green thing. One aspect that I love about my job is that we introduce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to the kids raw. This is a great idea because when they later try it cooked, steamed, or mixed in with other foods then they will grow to love it better.

Strawberries, blueberries, and green and yellow summer squash

Strawberries, blueberries, and green and yellow summer squash

Summer Squash!

According to fullcircle.com “Summer squash is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6. In addition, it is high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose.” I love to add squash to meals to turn them from ordinary to extraordinary. For example, adding squash to over-baked mac and cheese gives the dish an extra nutritious kick. In the summer, these vegetables are great on the grill and take little effort to make. Just add a dab of salt with some herbs like basil or oregano and BAM, you have a tasty and healthy side to go with any meal.

Lessons with your child:

Go to your local nursery or store with your child and buy seeds of fruits and vegetables to plant with them. Show your child how plants grow by the putting seeds into a small pot, watering them, and watching them sprout. To do this, make sure you put the plant in a plastic bag so that you will be able to see the roots grow. Your child will be able to see the daily progress of their plant and then they can transfer their projects outdoors. Once the plant is fully developed, your child will be able to eat their healthy creation. This is another fun way to teach your child to eat healthy!

 

 

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.

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!