Just as that candy triggers pleasurable sensations in the mouth, eating a variety of foods can lead to a number of pleasurable responses in the body. Eating different fruits and vegetables adds more than just nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals; it also adds color, flavor, texture, shape and temperature to meals or snacks.
Do you have a favorite color? Check out the colors of fruits and vegetables--many of which are in season now--then choose games and activities to help your children enjoy them!
Red– packed with antioxidants that keep our hearts healthy and protect cells from damage. This include Red bell peppers, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Radishes, and Cherries.
Orange/yellow– contains nutrients to maintain healthy eyes and can improve immune system function. Try Apricots, Yellow bell peppers, Cantaloupe, Casaba melon, Grapefruit, Nectarines, Passion fruit, Peaches, Yukon gold potatoes, Corn, Yellow beets, and Yellow tomatoes.
Green– helps maintain healthy eyes and may also protect against certain cancers. Leafy green veggies, such as spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. Enjoy Green Bell peppers, Butter lettuce, Cucumbers, Green beans, Tomatillos, Zucchini, Sugar snap peas, Honeydew, and Okra.
Blue/purple– rich in antioxidants that protect the cell from damage, they may help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Blueberries in particular have been linked to improve memory function and healthy aging. Choose from Blackberries, Blueberries, Eggplant, Elderberries, Figs, Grapes, beets.
White - help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help reduce risk of stomach cancer and heart disease. Select Shallots, Garlic, White nectarines, White peaches, White corn.
Recipes, games, and activities
- Make fruit or vegetable kabobs on straws.
- Make funny shaped fruit or veggies using cookie cutters.
- Smoothies are a great way to mix fruits and veggies to get a quick and healthy meal or snack (Great for mom too!).
- Literally make a rainbow, spreading red, green, blue, yellow, and orange fruits and veggies across a platter and serve it at snack time.
- Freeze grapes, bananas, peaches and serve them for dessert.
- Make fruit lollipops – cut fruit into shapes or use a melon baller, place fruit on a straw and then dip in peanut butter or yogurt and roll in favorite crushed cereal or nuts. Freeze until firm.
- Do a scavenger hunt at home or in the grocery store looking for fruits and veggies that start with each letter of the alphabet.
- Sort the fruit by color, shape or size and then graph the results.
- Discuss the differences between the fruits – smell, texture, taste, and appearance. Create a chart.
- Make a funny face using a cucumber as the head, shredded carrots for the hair, 2 green peas for the eyes, ½ grape for the nose, and raisins for the mouth.
- Build a garden using green beans or asparagus for grass, broccoli for trees, raspberries and blueberries as flowers, and an orange slice for the sun.
- Discover what other ideas your kids can come up with for creating their own fruit art!
For more recipes and ideas visit www.totfitness.com.