(Family Features) Introducing kids to unfamiliar flavors doesn’t have to be a frightful experience. Getting creative and taking cues from some beloved characters may be all it takes for families to explore produce in a new way and discover how delicious, satisfying and enjoyable fresh fruits and vegetables can be.
A passion for produce may begin with America’s favorites, like bananas, apples, citrus, celery, carrots and broccoli, but that’s just the beginning.
Whether it’s their angry names and tough exteriors, or simply a fear of the unknown about taste and preparation, dozens more diverse and exotic fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, horned melon and Brussels sprouts are often the sources of produce paranoia.
An initiative from Dole, in collaboration with Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., is helping to take the scare out of specialty fruits and vegetables and widen America’s produce horizons. That’s because, like a good book or the characters in a beloved film, you can’t judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance; nature’s true beauty often lies within.
The campaign offers character-inspired recipes, serving suggestions, digital and social activations, family-friendly activities, fun trivia and influencer partnerships that celebrate the not-so-scary world of the planet’s more unusual fresh bounty.
One easy way to introduce new flavors is by trying a variation of a familiar fruit or veggie. For example, there are more than 500 edible banana varieties in the world. You might sample a red banana or a Manzano, or even an ice cream banana, with a taste resembling vanilla custard.
These fun and kid-friendly Green Slime Nacho Cups feature plantains, for example, a member of the banana family with a different taste and texture than everyday yellow bananas – more firm and starchy like a potato. Increase your family’s produce intake even further with a Slippery Slimy Smoothie and Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads, which call for green grapes, celery, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.
Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney, and follow #Dole and #DoleRecipes.
Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Green Grapes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped Dole Celery
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 Dole Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- 6 whole-wheat pretzel twists
- 18 whole-wheat pretzel sticks
- 1 Dole Strawberry, sliced
- 3 dried, sweetened blueberries
- In bowl, stir together chicken, grapes, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper.
- Scoop three equal portions onto serving plate. Shape each into oval.
- Top each with upside down avocado half.
- Decorate each avocado half to resemble Roz’s face. Using sharp paring knife, trim each pretzel twist to create horn-rimmed glasses lens by cutting off double loop section of each pretzel twist and discarding or enjoying as snack, keeping single loop portion, which will become one lens. Two lenses are needed per Roz Head.
- Place two pretzel lenses on each avocado to form glasses. Add pretzel stick to each side of avocado to form arms of glasses. Push four pretzel sticks into top of each avocado to form hair. Add strawberry slice, trimmed to look like lips for her mouth, and place blueberry on lower left side of face to form mole.
Green Slime Nacho Cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 green starting to turn yellow DOLE® Plantain, peeled and thinly sliced on bias
- 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 Dole Avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup thinly shredded Dole Purple Cabbage
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss plantain slices with canola oil and season with pinch of salt. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange slices in single layer with no overlapping.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until crispy and lightly golden. Cool completely and set aside.
- Using spoon, scoop flesh of avocado into small bowl and mash, reserving one half avocado shell. Stir mashed avocado with lime juice, garlic and remaining salt. Stir in slaw, reserving some for garnish. Scoop into reserved avocado shell and smooth top with back of spoon. Stick reserved cabbage shreds out of avocado mixture to look like hair.
- Serve slime nacho cups with plantain chips.
Slippery Slimy Smoothie
Prep time:10 minutes
Servings: 2 (8 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Spinach
- 1 Dole Banana, peeled and frozen
- 1/2 cup Dole Green Grapes, frozen
- 1/3 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup Dole Pineapple
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 5 ice cubes
- In blender, blend spinach, banana, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice cubes until smooth.
- Pour smoothie into two glasses and serve.
©2020 Disney/Pixar (Roz)
(Family Features) During a period when many families are spending more time at home than normal, eating healthier is likely a popular goal. One of the many aspects to focusing on better nutrition starts with a better breakfast.
To help boost you and your family’s immunity, try focusing on protein- and fiber-packed morning meals that are low in sugar. That doesn’t have to mean hours of prep in the kitchen or stocking up on uncommon ingredients.
Instead, you can start with simple recipes that call for just a handful of inclusions. Additionally, when your menu is centered around less complicated dishes, it allows an opportunity to get kids involved in the kitchen with tasks like measuring yogurt for a parfait, pouring milk in a pudding recipe or simply pulling ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator.
To help start your healthy breakfast plan on the right foot, consider these tips from Dr. Jonathan Clinthorne and the experts at SimplyProtein:
Factor in fiber. When it comes to supporting immunity with nutrition, one of the underappreciated nutrients is dietary fiber. Fiber feeds gut bacteria, which helps produce numerous compounds that accelerate the development of immune cells and boost their function. The immune system performs better when people replace highly refined, low-fiber carbohydrates with fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Pick ingredients packed with protein. It’s important to consume adequate protein when looking to boost immune function as protein energy malnutrition is linked to poor immune function and can impair the ability of the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria. Add foods to your diet like SimplyProtein’s line of non-GMO, gluten-free bars and bites. The snacks include 11 or more grams of protein and just 0-3 grams of sugar without artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives for nutritious treats to help make busy lives simpler.
Build a balanced breakfast. People burn more energy through a process known as “diet-induced thermogenesis” when they consume high-calorie breakfasts rather than high-calorie dinners. This can ultimately help with weight loss and suggests that eating more food early in the day is better for you than eating a large amount before bedtime. For example, these recipes for Yogurt Parfait, Chia Seed Pudding and Avocado Toast provide protein and energy with simple at-home prep.
Skip the sugar. Avoid the post-lunch sleepy feeling by ditching sugar. Instead, focus on low-glycemic snacks that won’t spike blood sugar, helping to control your appetite.
Feel fuller longer. Eating immune supportive foods like vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds and protein-rich snack bars can help keep you full and satisfied while avoiding less nutritious alternatives.
Easy Additions for a Balanced Breakfast
Whether your morning meal is a lavish spread for the whole family or a simple snack before logging on for a workday, these simple add-ons can add flavor without sacrificing nutrition:
- Dairy, such as milk or yogurt
- Fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and more
- Quick solutions, such as SimplyProtein Cookie Bars, Crispy Bars or Crunchy Bites
- Eggs (for a time-saving solution, try using a muffin tin to create egg cups for ready-to-go breakfasts throughout the week)
- Seeds or nuts
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- 1 avocado, halved and sliced
- 2 poached eggs
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup crushed SimplyProtein Barbecue Crunchy Bites
- Toast bread slices.
- Divide avocado slices among toast. Place one egg on each piece of toast then sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Top toast with crushed crunchy bites.
- 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup assorted fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and kiwi
- 1 tablespoon shaved almonds
- 1 SimplyProtein Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar, crumbled
- shaved coconut (optional)
- In bowl, layer yogurt, fruit and shaved almonds. Top with crumbled cookie bar and shaved coconut, if desired.
Chia Seed Pudding
- 3 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 SimplyProtein Lemon Crispy Bar
- In glass jar or bowl, stir chia seeds and almond milk. Let rest 5 minutes then stir again.
- Cover pudding in refrigerator; allow to set 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Crumble lemon crispy bar and mix into pudding or cut into sticks for dipping.
Resolve to make nutritious eating a priority
(Family Features) Discovering a better version of yourself is all about striking balance. That’s especially true when it comes to making smarter food choices that you can maintain over time.
A sustainable, long-term healthy eating approach, such as the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, emphasizes variety and balance. Start planning a low-carb menu filled with high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats with these tips from Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins.
Fill up with fiber-rich foods. Foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, low-glycemic fruit (like berries) and whole unrefined grains are considered carbohydrates, but they don’t raise your blood sugar the way processed carbs do. Fiber slows the entry of glucose into your bloodstream so you don’t experience insulin spikes that encourage your body to produce and store body fat. Try to eat between 25-35 grams of fiber a day.
Reduce inflammation. A low-carb approach eliminates refined and processed foods and sugars that can cause inflammation. Focus on foods that decrease inflammation, such as colorful low-glycemic vegetables, low-sugar fruits, protein and healthy fats such as olive oil. The ground turmeric in this Golden Milk recipe offers an easy way to fight inflammation without sacrificing flavor.
Kickstart your morning. Start your day with a protein-packed choice such as these Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats. You’ll get the omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants from the chia seeds along with protein and healthy fats to keep you energized while avoiding high-sugar breakfast alternatives.
Satisfying, Low-Sugar Swaps
Eating on the go can easily cause you to grab a high-sugar option, but there are simple swaps to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Satisfy your hunger with an option like the Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar. Made with sweet chocolate and rich, creamy peanut butter, this bar offers 16 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and only 2 grams of sugar to satisfy your hunger without the guilt.
Find more recipes like these for Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan or Spicy Crispy Chickpeas and ideas for a balanced, low-carb approach to eating well at Atkins.com.
Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 4.41
- 1 bunch thin spear asparagus
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 salmon fillets (4 ounces each), no more than 3/4-inch thick
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil-based mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Wash asparagus and remove woody ends. Place on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Arrange in single layer, leaving space for salmon. Place salmon skin-side down on sheet. Brush with remaining olive oil and season with remaining salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake 12 minutes.
- In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and garlic.
- Remove sheet pan from oven, sprinkle asparagus spears with cheese and cook 3 minutes, or until fish reaches 145° F and asparagus spears are tender and beginning to brown on tips.
- Plate one fillet and half the asparagus, drizzle each plate with about 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce and serve.
Spicy Crispy Chickpeas
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 8.3
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon ghee (or clarified butter), melted
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Heat air fryer to 390° F 3 minutes.
- Using fine mesh sieve, drain and rinse chickpeas. Use towel to gently pat chickpeas dry, removing skins. In small bowl, toss chickpeas with ghee and salt.
- Cook in single layer in air fryer 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 6 minutes. Pause and shake bowl; cook 3 minutes.
- In separate small bowl, sprinkle chickpeas with spices and toss to evenly coat. Chickpeas can be stored in open container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Net carbs: 3
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 10 drops liquid stevia extract
- In small pan, whisk coconut milk, almond milk, water, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Warm over medium heat until hot but not simmering, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sweetener and serve.
Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Net carbs: 6.84
- 1 Atkins Chocolate Banana Shake
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut shreds
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- fruit, such as sliced bananas or berries (optional)
- In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine shake, rolled oats, chia seeds, hemp hearts, coconut and almonds. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Top with fruit, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Salmon and Asparagus Sheet Pan, Spicy Crispy Chickpeas, Golden Milk, Chocolate Banana Protein Overnight Oats)
(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.
Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.
Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.
Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.
Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.
This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Find more information and snack ideas at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Grape Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 2 cups green California grapes, divided
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 piece fresh ginger (1-inch length), peeled and sliced (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted coconut chips
- In blender, combine avocado, bananas, spinach, 1 cup grapes, almond milk, ginger and salt; blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls. Halve remaining grapes and place on top of smoothie bowls along with chia seeds and coconut chips.
Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.