With summer comes delicious summer veggies - from your homegrown garden, farmer's markets or road side stalls - this is a perfect time to buy local and to enjoy the best that summer has to offer. There is nothing like fresh fruit and fresh-picked veggies in the good ole summertime. I'd like to share some health statistics that I found at www.Zonya.com.Zonya Foco is a tv host, author and professional speaker. Visit her site for more extensive information.
"The American Institute for Cancer Research has determined that 35% of all cancers are related to our diet! Heart attacks, strokes and triple bypasses have now found their way into the lives of 20-yr.olds.
Adult-Onset Diabetes: had to be renamed "Type 2 Diabetes" due to the vast numbers of children developing this lifestyle-induced type of diabetes.
Autopsies from young accident victims found 50% blockages in arteries of children as young as 7.
Creating healthy habits in children isn't always easy. So I'd like to help you to get your kids to eat healthier. Maybe together we can turn some of these alarming statistics around before it's too late."
MAKE VEGETABLES FUN: Cutting veggies into shapes can help your children want to eat their veggies. Make 'ants on a log' by putting peanut butter in a celery stick, and top with raisins ('ants'). There are all kinds of cookbooklets on the market these days to help you have some foodie fun. Do whatever it takes to get your kids to enjoy more veggies. Keep fresh vegetables ready to eat on hand in the fridge. Have small containers of dressing for them to use as dip. Whenever kids ask for a snack before dinnertime, place veggies on the table and tell them to eat all they want. They might not like that at first, but when they're hungry enough, they will glad to have good-for-them veggies. They may even up up liking them more.
SLASH THE SUGAR:A 12-ozs.can of regular soda pop contains 40 grams of sugar which is the same as 10 teaspoons. Maybe you could have them choose their snack: either a cookie, a soda, or some ice cream, but hopefully not all three. Mix high-sugar cereals with healtheir whole-grain, high-fiber cereals. By doing that a little at a time,they will hardly notice.
GET SNEAKY: You can't imagine all the recipes I make by using beans that have been whirred in the blender or veggies into a smoother texture. Adding broccoli or carrots into spaghetti sauce is a great way to camoflauge things they wouldn't normally eat, and they won't suspect a thing! Make stir-fries and add some sweet and sour sauce, or serve with reduced-fat cheese.
GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED:I know it can sometimes be a pain,but take your kids grocery shopping with you,even if you do it one at a time.Ask them to pick a new vegetable or fruit the family has never tried before,then allow them to help you prepare it for eating.Kids can learn new skills,and they are more likely to eat something they've had a hand in preparing.
MAKE FRUIT & VEGGIE DESSERTS: I have always loved this quote by actor Jim Davis: Vegetables are a must on a diet: I suggest carrot cake,zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.I wholeheartedly agree! What a great way to get those nutritients into your kids and watch them enjoy them without realizing they're eating a healthier choice. Blueberry buckle or a strawberry dessert are great treats. If you're willing to use reduced-fat and low-sugar recipes along with whole-grain flour, that's even better. Remember:when serving dessert, everyone should save room for this additional intake instead of cleaning your plate so you can have dessert. Help your kids to know when to stop and not overeat.
ENJOY SMOOTHIES: This is a great way to get more fruit into your kid's diets. Freeze strawberries, bananas, or pineapple then add to milk and yogurt. Add crushed ice if desired. Blend until smooth and enjoy. I love pina colada smoothies by using coconut milk along with pineapple.
TEACH KIDS TO SAY NO! TO SUPER SIZING! I think this one speaks for itself.
Here is a wonderful new recipe that I am so impressed with. It is very moist and chocolate-y and has a 'secret' ingredient. No one will ever know all that you have 'hidden' it in this tasty bread, but it all adds moisture and nutrients. With the fruits and vegetables in this recipe, you can begin your day with a big dose of your daily nutritional requirements by enjoying a piece or two for breakfast.
Cucumbers are not one of my favorite vegetables, but this cucumber cracker/bagel spread sure is. It lasts up to a week in the fridge.
CUCUMBER CRACKER/BAGEL SPREAD
1/2 cucumber (peeled and cut into chunks)
3 green onions, chopped
1 (8ozs) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
May make in the food processor:process until cukes are coarsely chopped, then add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If preparing by hand, finely chop cuke and green onions. In medium bowl, combine veggies, cream cheese, worchestershire sauce and salt. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD(WITH SURPRISE INGREDIENT)
1-1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. unsweetened baking cocoa
1 c. frozen spinach, or 1/2 c. cooked spinach
2 Tb. canola oil
1 c. shredded zucchini (about 1 sm.or 1/2 med.)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten (or 1 egg+2 egg whites)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or waxed paper)and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside. In medium bowl,whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until evenly mixed. Microwave frozen spinach for about 1 minute on high. Squeeze out extra water and drain. Process in a food processor with oil until finely pureed. Transfver to a large mixing bowl. Into spinach mixture, add zucchini, banana, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Then add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Then stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Pour batter into lined loaf pan and dot the top with remaining 1/4 c. chocolate chips. Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick or skewer to see if done. Let cool in pan on rack for about 30 minutes.( don't invert or choco chips will get smashed). Let cool, cut and serve.