Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on April 22, 2013 2 Comments
A fun (and colorful) way to try new foods and cook
This week we’re boosting up the color in our 52 New Foods challenge. Instead of just one new food, we’re bringing together a few new foods and having fun eating our colors with a rainbow salad bar! It’s an easy way to sample new tastes – jicama, radicchio, and tomatillo – along with familiar favorites like strawberries, blueberries, mango and avocado.
It’s also a fun and simple way to cook together with your kids. As Michael Pollan put it in his recent interview with Mark Bittman of The New York Times, “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet.” But cooking with your kids can feel overwhelming for busy parents. How to tackle that challenge? Make it easy!
Cooking together can be as simple as chopping up fresh fruits and veggies and assembling them in a salad. Setup your cooking project like an activity, with all of the ingredients and supplies you’ll need within arms reach. Let the little ones peel and squeeze, and the more experienced kids chop and dice. Most importantly, let each person create their own mix.
What we Liked: It’s highly unlikely that my kids would have tried radicchio simply on its own. But sprinkled on a colorful salad that they created? You bet! Same goes for jicama. Be sure to put out a few favorites along with your new foods to give your kids a safe place to start. Encourage them to try even a few small sprinkles of radicchio or a couple of jicama matchsticks. Your goal is to get them to try something new, and it’s 100% okay if they don’t like it on the first try. Keep trying!
Eat Your Colors: A Rainbow Salad Bar
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Crunch a Color points: 15 blue / purple, 15 white (x2), 10 green (x2), 10 yellow / orange, 5 red, 5 blue / purple, 5 yellow (x2). Bonus points for each new food you try.
Note: Crunch a Color points will be different for each person depending on their mix.
3 rainbow carrots
1 pint strawberries
½ pint blueberries
½ head radicchio
5 slices pineapple
1 small onion
1 Meyer lemon
Cilantro for garnish
1. Peel and dice your veggies and fruits. Let your kids do as much of the prep as possible! My only exception is with using the mandoline. To create super thin shreds of radicchio, as well as jicama and carrot matchsticks, I prefer to use a mandoline. I’m not quite brave enough to let my kids have at it with that slicer – at least not until I find a safer version! Everything else is fair game.
Note: If you choose to include tomatillos in your salad bar, consider roasting them first. Ten minutes in a 350 degree oven will do the trick. My kids preferred the flavor of roasted tomatillo to the raw version, although you can serve it either way.
Tip: Light a votive when cutting an onion to banish tears!
2. Serve your ingredients in small bowls, lined up in the colors of the rainbow. You should have between a ½ cup and 1 cup of each ingredient.
3. Let each person create their own recipe. Encourage everyone to include at least three colors in their mix. Bonus points for trying any of the new foods, even just a taster. I was floored when my 6-year-old son James included everything in his salad – even the onions!
4. To finish, squeeze a little Meyer lemon or lime on top of your salad. Enjoy!
* What’s your favorite way to eat your colors? What are your tips for cooking together with your kids? Share your ideas!
Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s post: Taco Night!
About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.