Fear Not the Berry
As a Registered Dietitian and mother of 3 boys, I am always searching for ways to get my children to appreciate and enjoy the fresh tastes of the season and expand their palates. My first real try at this was signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where I purchased a share of the farmer’s crop for 10 weeks and received seasonal, fresh picked fruits and vegetables. My CSA program taught my children about different fruits and vegetables, however, they were hesitant to try the “mystery” foods in the box. This was despite my attempt at playing “Name the Produce Game Show” I would set up in my kitchen with them every week.
Several months later, I was attending an educational wellness workshop when a light bulb went off while listening to a presentation where a father struggled with the same issues. This is when I first heard of the idea and began using “fruit and veggie bins” in my refrigerator. I purchased two Rubbermaid-type plastic bins of similar size and each week I fill one with various fruits and the other with various vegetables. The fruit and vegetable combinations are hardly ever the same, and I always add something different for them to try. These fruit and vegetable bins are placed on the dining room table each night during meal prep and stay there throughout mealtime. These bins serve as “snacks” while they wait for the meal to be prepared. Ultimately, this is a win for Mom as they easily consume 1 – 2 servings of fruits or vegetables before sitting down to dinner. Each child has their own favorites, but they are asked try each and every variety in the bins at least once. As you can imagine with 3 boys, these produce bins result in some “Fear Factor” daring! However, most of the time, they end up liking the once-dreaded produce at hand. The fruit that was by far the biggest dare to try was the blackberry. Due to its dark color and bumpy texture, it was sure to frighten; however it has become a favorite.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries and cranberries are nutrition powerhouses, known for their high antioxidant content that has been shown to prevent disease, decrease inflammation, and protect skin and hair. As a rule of thumb, the darker the berry, the more nutrition per bite. So fear not the beloved blackberry, as it has become a Mohrman family favorite. I dare YOU to try them next time you hit the grocery!
Try this recipe for Triple Berry Summer Salad – a nutrition packed meal, rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. (I like to substitute feta cheese for the goat cheese) Enjoy!
Dietitian at Parkview Health