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kids eat veggies local food

7 Ways I help my kids eat veggies (and fruits)

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / October 24,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

7 WAYS I HELP MY KIDS EAT VEGGIES (AND FRUITS)
by Morgan, veggie fairy & neighborhood Market Manager in Virginia Beach

In my five years of motherhood, children and vegetable eating have definitely been an unsolved mystery to me. It’s like it’s in their DNA to rebel against at least some vegetables at some age. Just like most parents I know, I want my kids to be healthy and have balanced nutrition. But sometimes it’s a struggle to get those greens in them. So here’s a quick summary of my best tips, tricks, and suggestions to help kids eat veggies, with or without their knowledge – details and examples are on the Veggie Fairy Blog!
1. Let them unpack the box.
2. Get a Mother’s Helper stool.
3. Let them experiment.
4. Give them a mission.
5. Chocolate chips are a parent’s friend. (Learn how…

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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summer superfoods

5 Summer superfoods to boost health

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / August 15,2018

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

5 SUMMER SUPERFOODS TO BOOST HEALTH
HOW THEY DO IT, PLUS RECIPE IDEAS

Summer is Mother Nature’s blockbuster season! There are dozens of summer superfoods, but here are 5 rock stars that are being harvested right now in Virginia, like these peaches from Saunders Brothers. For recipe ideas, go online to the Veggie Fairy Blog, which includes links to delicious, do-able recipes for not just 5, but 11 summer superfoods, along with all their health benefits.

Eggplant: The anthocyanins in it protect heart health. Its nasunin …

Read the rest of the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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summer superfoods

11 summer superfoods to boost health

Plus recipes for each one!

Summer is Mother Nature’s blockbuster season. Some faves come early, some late, and some keep coming all summer long. There are dozens of summer superfoods, but here are 11 rock stars — complete with health benefits, harvest season, and a link to a delicious, do-able recipe for each one from our Pinterest library.

Basil

This fragrant herb is popular for its flavor. Its impressive nutrition content is less well known, but it’s actually a great source for vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium, with strong antioxidant and antibacterial qualities. Together they help fight illness and infection. Add to a salad or marinade, sprinkle over berries and ice cream, or tear it into a summer cocktail. Virginia harvest season: May-November. Try this recipe: Easy Caprese Salad

Bell Peppers

All colors of sweet bell peppers deliver plenty of vitamin C, as well as some fiber and vitamin B6. Red peppers also contain beta-carotene and lycopene, antioxidants that help prevent cancer, improve cognitive function, and support healthy lungs and skin. Those red colored peppers also give you twice the amount of vitamin C you’d get from a citrus orange. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Cherries

These antioxidant-packed fruits contain anthocyanins, the flavonoids that give cherries their deep red color along with some serious superpowers. They help regulate immune responses and act as an anti-inflammatory. The sour varieties of this fruit may be even more helpful as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, studies suggest tart cherries could be more effective than aspirin at relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Virginia harvest season: May-August. Try this recipe: Cherry Bread Pudding

Eggplant

It’s one of the world’s healthiest foods. The anthocyanins in it protect heart health. Its nasunin may help improve blood flow to the brain. It also contains chlorogenic acid, a powerful free-radical scavenger that helps prevent cancer. It supports strong bones, boosts cognition, and protects the digestive system. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach

Grapes

Sweet and tangy and bursting with antioxidants, grapes are a good source of vitamin K. That helps blood clot and may contribute to strong bones. A study in Experimental Gerontology found that eating grapes twice a day for six months protected against metabolic decline in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, and enriched metabolic activity in areas of the brain related to memory and attention. You can snack on them fresh, frozen, or add to salads, salsas, or smoothies. Virginia harvest season: August-October. Try this recipe: Muscadine Almond Smoothie

Peaches

Every time you bite into a juicy summer peach, you’re getting a dose of antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and potassium. Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and may aid in muscle recovery after a workout. Virginia harvest season: June-September. Try this recipe: Balsamic Peach Chicken

Summer Squash

Zucchini and yellow squash are excellent sources of vitamin C and antioxidants for a strong immune system and good eye health. Use a spiralizer to make a healthy pasta substitute, chop them up and add raw to a grain salad, or brush slices with olive oil and grill. Virginia harvest season: May-September. Try this recipe: Summer Squash, Bacon & Mozzarella Quiche

Sweet Corn

Is it a veggie or a grain? One thing we can be sure of is that it’s a rich source of vitamin B1, vitamin B5, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, folate, and fiber. All of which means that, on or off the cob, it’s good for your heart, eyes, cancer prevention, and memory enhancement. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Cowboy Caviar

Swiss Chard

This dark leafy green may look like it belongs in winter, but it reaches its peak during summer. It’s also full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as magnesium, which helps fight depression and migraines, and control blood sugar levels. It’s also got potassium for good blood pressure, heart health, and bone and muscle strength. Add to your salad mix, use it as a sandwich or burger wrap, steam it, or add it to soups and stews. Virginia harvest season: All summer. Try this recipe: Swiss Chard Rolls

Tomatoes

These guys deliver an army of antioxidants that have been shown to fight various cancers. They’re also a rich source of vitamins like vitamin C and the beta-carotene that makes them red also makes them good for your eyes and skin. Minerals like potassium and phosphorus protect against cardiovascular disease, build strong bones and teeth, and help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. They detoxify the body and are good for your stomach and urinary tract. Virginia harvest season: July-October. Try this recipe: Tuscan Lentil Soup

Watermelon

Low in sugar and high in vitamins A and C, this summer treat can be eaten as a refreshing snack, a low-calorie dessert, or part of larger dish. Studies suggest watermelon may lower blood pressure and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus the lycopene in watermelon could help protect the body from UV rays and cancer. Virginia harvest season: June-August. Try this recipe: Watermelon Salad with Mint & Crispy Prosciutto

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011. , Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

american heart month arugula carrots bread tofu

Celebrate American Heart Month with heart-healthy local foods

This month, get in the habit of showing your heart some love!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Valentines are nice… a healthy ticker is even better! American Heart Month is the perfect time to start getting in the habit of keeping heart-healthy food on hand. That way whipping up a heart-healthy meal or snack for you and your family is really easy and yummy. Local food is a big part of it.

By the way, before we get to the local part, this being Cupid’s month and all, we veggie fairies are happy to report that dark chocolate and red wine are both good for your heart! (Based on personal experience, there are definitely some days when wine and chocolate are really good for mental health, too. Just sayin’…!) The Cleveland Clinic put dark chocolate up against red wine to see if one is better for you than the other. Find out which one was the winner here!

And now, armed with our chocolate and our glass of wine, we’ve got 9 local food suggestions for you from the American Heart Association and the Cleveland Clinic. Watch for these foods in your online farmers market — some are available year-round and some are seasonal. If you put a few of the foods on this list in your Seasonal Roots basket each week, your heart will love you for it!

#1 Dark leafy greens

Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, and watercress are tasty dark greens that grow locally year round and can be used in different ways in a wide variety of recipes. Use them in sandwiches instead of lettuce. They’re a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to heart health.

#2 Whole wheat items

For pasta, breads, and crackers, always opt for whole wheat when you can. It provides more fiber than white flour and is more filling. If you go for 100% whole wheat, you’ll enjoy the full benefits of the fiber and antioxidants.

#3 Tomatoes

This versatile fruit masquerading as a vegetable can be added to most dishes — think salads, pastas, eggs, and sandwiches. Tomatoes are high in antioxidants.

#4 Red, yellow, and orange veggies

Carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fiber, and vitamins to help your heart.

#5 Hummus

Legumes in general are great for your blood-pump, and hummus is chock-full of chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans, a type of legume.

#6 Berries

Everybody loves berries, and local berry season is coming soon! They’re rich in fiber and antioxidants, especially when you eat them in season at their flavorful and nutritional peak.

#7 Tofu

Try marinated tofu in a stir-fry with fresh veggies for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner. The prepared vegan meals in our online farmers market are a super-easy and tasty way to get your tofu, whether your a newbie checking it out or a tofu super fan.

#8 Asparagus

Tender, sweet asparagus is filled with mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate, and fiber, and only provide 25 calories per cup, or 5 calories per large spear.

#9 Broccoli

Crisp, fresh broccoli florets dipped in hummus are a terrific heart-healthy snack with a whopping list of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, calcium, and fiber.

By eating these foods locally when they’re freshly made or in season, you’re maximizing the nutritional benefits for your heart. Other heart-healthy staples to keep on hand include nuts like almonds and walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, canned or dried legumes, and quinoa, a grain that’s a great source of protein and rich in fiber. So with a clink of our glasses of red wine we say: Here’s to your heart!

ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

fight food waste eat raw food

Why you should eat raw food & keep it on hand…

…even if sometimes it goes bad before you can eat it!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Your body needs the live enzymes found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Enzymes activate and carry out all your body’s biological processes, including digestion and nerve impulses – and it’s theorized that those enzymes need to be replenished regularly for you to stay healthy.

So what’s the #1 way to replenish enzymes?

Eat raw food.

Actually, for overall good health, you should eat a mix of raw and cooked food — cooking makes some nutrients more accessible to our bodies while killing other nutrients. Spinach is good example of the unexpected pros and cons. So a mix of raw and cooked covers all your bases.

Anyway, keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is worth it for the live enzymes, not to mention antioxidants, vitamins, and other fragile things that are good for us… even if those fruits and veggies go bad occasionally before you can eat them all.

Still, why let any fresh produce go to waste?

To avoid wasting produce, prioritize it. Eat the stuff that goes bad the fastest first, like salad greens or green beans. Once they’re eaten, the more long-lived produce will be waiting for you, with most of the nutrients still intact. Asian pears, for example, store well: 2-3 weeks at room temp, several months in the fridge. That should give you plenty of time to:

  • Serve Asian pears on a cheese platter (skip the crackers).
  • Add thin slices to sandwiches.
  • Add chunks to salads.
  • Make Asian pear slaw. (Scroll down to the bottom of the link for the recipe.)
  • Fight food waste and save money… and the world!

    When you don’t waste food, you’re saving yourself some money. But you’re also helping change our world for the better — you’re blooming where you’re planted. Because the fact is, in America we throw away 40% of our food supply every year!

    We’ve talked about ugly food before, and why we love it (as long as it’s fresh and local!) — it just tastes better. For example, in the peak of the season, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors because they’re grown for their nuanced flavors, not their looks. Grocery store tomatoes, on the other hand, are grown by Industrial Agriculture with a list of other characteristics in mind – good looking is one, tough enough to travel is another. (Flavor’s not on the list.) Tomatoes that aren’t pretty enough for the industrial system are thrown away.

    In a country where many go hungry, it’s unconscionable to discard nutritious food simply because it isn’t cute enough. It’s a crazy system that needs to change. As a Member of Seasonal Roots, you’re already helping to bring sanity to our nation’s food system.

    But even so, this time of year it’s easy to wind up with more fresh local tomatoes than you can eat raw all at once, even if they are loaded with live enzymes and other good things.

    More ways to fight food waste

    Here’s how you can get those fresh local tomatoes (and other veggies) eaten, with most of their nutritious benefits still intact:

  • Drizzle with olive oil, roast, and use them to top a salad, bruschetta, or pasta.
  • Simmer into sauce and can or freeze. (Check out our 3-part series on maxing nutritional value by freezing, along with other tricks.
  • Skin, seed, and simmer to a paste.
  • Bake into a tomato pie or tart.
  • Make tomato jam.
  • Add to fruit salad.
  • Bottom line: Eat fresh and local

    So… eat ugly food. Eat raw food. Eat cooked food. Just make sure it’s fresh local food! If it’s fresh and local, it’s so good for you that it’s worth it to always have plenty on hand… even if it goes bad now and then.

    But there’s no need to let that happen. If you can’t eat it all fast enough, just throw it in the freezer. When you defrost it later, if it’s not as appetizing to eat raw, it’ll still be great cooked… and just about as nutritious as it would have been if you’d cooked it instead of freezing it in the first place.

    Parts of this post were adapted from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s EcoCentric blog post “Taste it, don’t waste it: Tomatoes”.

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

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