Season’s Eatings!

If getting your family to eat and enjoy dining on vegetables is keeping you awake at night (and I hope things aren’t that bad), consider buying produce in season… It’s a great way to work on getting in all the required servings (5 at least…more is better) because, quite simply, they taste so good you’ll want to eat more.

At our house, as luck would have it, we are STILL harvesting tomatoes. Nearly 100 degree temps at the end of September is really drawing things out in the garden. This must be the reward for all of our sweaty discomfort!  A generous last minute bounty of the very best the garden has to offer.

And if you’ve ever eaten a ripe tomato from the vine, you know that they bear NO resemblance to the pale, mealy specimens found on the shelves of the grocery store in the months following the growing season.

Periodically, during the long and often dreary months of winter, my husband, Jim, gets nostalgic for summer  and can’t resist the urge to buy a few tomatoes for our salads. Regrettably, this always plays out the same way… We end up lamenting the fact that only tomatoes grown in season are worth eating, and Jim swears off buying any more.

It happens every year–like clockwork.  Sigh…

But we’re not just talking tomatoes. All fruits and vegetables have a season.  And if you go by what you find at the supermarket, you’d never know what you SHOULD be eating.  So, for lots of great information including tips for buying, storing, and preparing what’s growing now, check out this amazing website.

And then try this simple 5 ingredient recipe for the VERY BEST fresh salsa you’ll ever eat. Do it right away–before the tomatoes are all gone!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

1 lb. garden fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped into small pieces

½ a small red onion, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced (careful to wash your hands afterwards)

cilantro, chopped in any amount

1/2 tsp. salt.

Stir to mix well and eat as soon as possible.

All ingredient amounts can be adjusted to taste preference.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination for all that chopping, simply whirl in the food processor until chunky.

This might be considered an economical dish in our house (especially since we use all of our own produce except for cilantro) if it weren’t for the fact that Sam loves it so much he could eat it all in one sitting. I usually fill up a small lidded container (before it’s all gone) to send with tortilla chips in his lunch the next day.

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What your mother always told you . . .

Did she tell you to clean up your room? Turn that music down? Take out the garbage? Possibly.

But I’m absolutely certain that at some point in time she told you to eat your vegetables!

And I’m quite sure that you worry about the very same thing with your kids. After all, eating fruits and vegetables provides lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber which are essential to good health. Not to mention they help fill you up without a lot of fat and calories and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases to boot.

So, imagine a circle representing your dinner plate. Draw an imaginary line through the middle of the circle bisecting it into two equal halves. Now, load up one half with imaginary fruits and vegetables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed this easy to follow graphic reminder of what we should be eating.

5 servings a day, minimum… More is better… This is the standard, one size fits all recommendation. For more specific numbers based on age and gender check HERE.

It might seem like a challenge to fit them all in, but don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

1. One or two at every meal. Servings that is… And try one at snack time for carbohydrate energy with protein for holding power.

2. Double up! Instead of taking an extra slice of garlic toast have a second serving of salad for example.

3. What’s growing in your area? Shop in season. Vegetables will taste better and, as a result, will be easier to consume. Visit the farmer’s market, roadside stand, or check out locally grown produce at the grocery store.

How do you fill your plate with fruits and vegetables?