Three cheers for the red, white, and blue

Ah! Red, white, and blue, the three colors that represent the land of the free and the home of the brave. Ironically, they are also the colors that represent cherry tomatoes (red,) jicama (white,) and blueberries (blue.)

Red, white, and blue fruits and vegetables.

Red, white, and blue fruits and vegetables for the 4th of July

What better theme for the Fruit and Veggie On-the-Move truck to have this past week for the kids other than an American one? This past week I gave the children at the parks cherry tomatoes, jicama, and blueberries to represent our Country’s three colors: red, white, and blue for the 4th of July. Because what’s better than teaching the kids about health and history combined? It was great to see the kids reactions to the color schemes this week but, it was even better to see how many kids remembered what jicama was. If you read my blog before you could maybe recall that jicama is a Mexican root vegetable that is crunchy and almost tastes like a less-flavored apple. A lot of the children could recall the color and taste of this unique vegetable which they all enjoyed. Mostly, the kids were going crazy over the blueberries. A lot of them even came up to me to ask if they were healthy for them too. Well kids I have great news for you, they are really healthy for you!

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Blueberries!

Blueberries

Blueberries are indeed healthy for everyone, especially for diabetics! Blueberries are actually one of the few fruits that are beneficial for people with diabetes. According to DiabeticLivingOnline.com, one of the specific types of antioxidants found in blueberries are anthocyanins. Recent research links eating foods rich in anthocyanins with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Though found mainly in adults, type 2 diabetes in children is surprisingly on the rise. I love to add blueberries to my salads, they are quick, easy to wash, and delicious. Try this refreshing salad I made over the summer, It has blueberries, spinach, almonds, dried dates, jicama, and grilled chicken, all with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Yumm!!

Yumm!!

Lessons with your child:

Pick a night for dinner and designate it as salad night. Take your child to the grocery store with you and have them pick out all the veggies or fruits they would like to put together in a salad. Try and have them start with a green base, for example, a arugula, spinach, iceberg lettuce, etc. Then add a protein, either chicken, tofu, fish, etc. Your child will enjoy making their own masterpiece and it will be something that their taste buds will enjoy.

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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!