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!

 

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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

 

 

Walking on sunshine!

Last week marked the beginning of the park program in Allentown and nothing made me happier than seeing the kids run up to the Fruit and Veggie On-the-Move truck! With our theme song “Walking on Sunshine” playing in the background, the kids were excited to receive their first fruit and veggie cup of the summer.

This week I gave out apricots, baby carrots, and snap peas. Last year, many of the kids did not know what an apricot was or many of them thought they were oranges. It did not come to a surprise to me this year that the same thing happened with the new playground goers but, I was impressed that many kids remembered the brightly colored orange fruit that I gave them last year. Identifying common and uncommon fruits and vegetables can be very tricky, even for some adults. Getting your child familiarized with different fruits and vegetables will help them to become more comfortable trying these foods.

The fruits and vegetables for the week! Apricots, baby carrots, and snap peas.

The fruits and vegetables for the week! Apricots, baby carrots, and snap peas.

 

Carrots!

Carrots are an awesome vegetable, they help improve vision, cleanse the body, and contain a good amount of Vitamin A that can protect the skin from sun damage. Here is a great recipe I found from Pinterest for a healthy carrot cake that you and your family will love: http://www.southerninlaw.com/2013/07/healthy-gluten-free-carrot-cake-recipe.html

This blogger took the traditional carrot cake recipe and made it healthier by adding more carrots to the recipe, using a little bit of honey instead of sugar, and using whole wheat flour (gluten free flour options are posted on the site too for those who have Celiac disease or a wheat allergy.)

Lessons with your child:

Take your child to your local library and check out a book with an important health message. Read the book together and discus with your child new things you can all do around the house to live healthier lives. A good example would be standing on one foot (switching feet every ten seconds) while brushing your teeth. This will help improve balance for you and your child.

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 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!