Veggies, Please! Said no one… ever. Until October!
Exploring dietary options to serve our children for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is always a challenge. We have to prepare meals that are feasible for our busy schedules but also nutritious and good for their growth and health.
How do we make this fun for the kids (and also fun for us)? The answer lies in color. Yes, bright beautiful hues of greens and purples, blues and reds, oranges and yellows. An easy way to capture the attention of young eaters is with vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables. Arranging them in alternating color patterns is an appealing sorting/mathematics lesson for ages 3-7 (even age 2). How about an art lesson showing the primary colors (red peppers, yellow squash, and blue blueberries)? Of course, there is a nutritional lesson in all of these beautiful fruits and vegetables. What vitamins are derived from each? There are the servings of fruit and vegetables that should be offered to our children as well. Consider the food pyramid or any of the resources from nutritional websites.
But back to color! Blues and purples are full of phytonutrients that help protect us and prevent diseases. Blueberries, plums, and raisins have flavonoids that are present, effectively fighting obesity and preventing cancer. Greens like spinach, broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts have chlorophyll which prevent diseases and aid our eyes, as well as our skin. What about reds? Tomatoes, apples, strawberries, and beets have red colors, preventing oxidation damage from ultraviolet light (UV) and tobacco smoke. Yellows and oranges get their color from lutein and carotenoids and contain many vitamins that aid the immune system like Vitamin A and C. Even white vegetables contain important nutrients; these include some types of corn, onions, and cauliflower. They have fiber, potassium, and magnesium.
What are you waiting for? Try three days, five days, or even seven days without any source of meat. Just focus on delicious vegetables and fruits. They are filled with nutrients that do nothing but good for our bodies – so why not?
Dr. Jeanette Moore is a certified educator in New York, Vermont, Connecticut and South Carolina. She is an established author and frequently contributes to magazines and lesson compilations, including The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, Spider Magazine, Highlights for Children, and the lesson guide for the National Fragile X Association. Jeanette has published math games for Nasco, including the P.E.M.D.A.S. Color Code. She also writes math and science books for Nomad Press, as well as workbooks for Carson Dellosa Publishing. Jeanette is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She is the mother of little Maya Jillian.