Monday Message

Article of the Week

The Season for Strawberries:

season-for-strawberries

Studies consistently show that kids are not getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Red, sweet, juicy strawberries are one healthy fruit that you won’t have any trouble getting your child to eat. Strawberries are one of America’s most loved fruits, with a recent study showing the average American consuming eight pounds per year. There are plenty of reasons to love strawberries.
A cup of naturally sweet strawberries (about eight medium) has only 50 calories, making them the perfect treat to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth. Strawberries for dessert pack a powerful nutrient punch that many traditional deserts lack.

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium. Just 1 cup contains 160 percent of the recommended Daily Value of vitamin C, which is necessary for growth and body tissue repair, and for maintaining a healthy immune system. Fiber aids in digestive health and one cup of sliced strawberries provides 3.3 grams of fiber. Strawberries also are rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins, which give them their bright red color. These compounds may help prevent some chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Not only are strawberries delicious and nutritious, but as Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, points out, “What makes them particularly great for kids is that they are the perfect size for little hands and fingers.” Fresh strawberries are extremely versatile and can be served whole, packed to go or used in a variety of recipes, including salads, sandwiches with cheese or nut butter, salsa, smoothies, fruit kabob or served with low-fat yogurt or ice cream. When fresh strawberries aren’t in season, choose frozen, but check the label to make sure there is no added sugar. Sheila Campbell, RD, suggests making instant “ice cream” by blending frozen strawberries with Greek yogurt and avocado. “The avocado doesn’t change the flavor but makes a fun green color and extra rich consistency,” Campbell says. Marilyn Yon, MS, RD, LD, recommends pick-your-own strawberry farms. “It’s fun to see the kids eating strawberries as they pick, red-stained faces and all,” she says. What could be better than watching your child enjoy a healthy food like strawberries? Just be sure to wash fresh berries before eating.

Hot Tip

what-is-a-whole-grain

What is a Whole Grain?  

Whole grains contain three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Refined grains only contain the endosperm. The bran and germ help keep your body healthy, your skin glowing and your hair shiny. Including whole grains as part of a healthy diet has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease, lower body weight and reduce incidence of diabetes. Some whole grains are: barley, quinoa, oats, brown rice, or whole-grain pastas, breads, or cereals. Make sure to check the ingredient list for “whole-grain.” To make white flour for baked goods, nutrient-rich parts of the grain – bran and germ – are removed.

 

Recipe of the Week

shrimp_tacos

 

Polynesian Shrimp Tacos

Taco filling is typically made with ground meat, but it doesn’t have to be. For this recipe, combine the convenience of frozen shrimp with the usual taco seasonings: chili powder, cumin, garlic and salsa. Then toss in some unlikely ingredients: black beans and crushed pineapple. The result is a slightly sweet, fiber-filled dinner that’s sure to make everyone smile. If you have young children and they happen to be missing a few front teeth, you may want to switch from crunchy taco shells to soft flour or corn tortillas.

Ingredients:

  • 12 taco shells
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound frozen small cooked shrimp, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional toppings: diced avocado, chopped tomato, light sour cream, shredded lettuce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the taco shells according to package directions and set aside.
  2. While the shells are baking, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder and cook until the shrimp are warmed through, about 1 minute (if using fresh shrimp, cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes).
  3. Stir in the beans, corn, pineapple and salsa, and heat through, about 2 minutes. Add the cheese and heat until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Using a slotted spoon to remove any excess liquid, place a generous ½ cup of the shrimp mixture into each taco shell. Serve with optional toppings.

Kids Eat Right

Tip of the Day

What counts as lean? The leanest beef cuts = round steaks & roasts, top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder & arm roasts. The leanest pork choices = pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, & ham. Lastly, for extra lean ground beef, the label should say at least ‘92% lean.’

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