Dole's fruit and vegetable arms are working together, along with the Dole Nutrition Institute, to promote the role of fruits and vegetables in brain health. The promotion for Brain Awareness Week is part of a larger, yearlong Get Up and Grow! campaign. "March is the perfect time to remind North Americans to do their brain a favor by increasing their intake of broccoli, spinach, blueberries and strawberries," said Jenn LaVardera, Dole's nutrition and health communications manager.
Vegetables are a "hard sell," says Al Muhlnickel, foodservice director for a New York state school district that recently received a $100,000 grant to provide fresh, locally produced food for students. School nutrition professionals have gotten creative with the menu by including a mix of roasted peppers and zucchini with herbs and a flourless blondie made with chickpeas.
First lady Michelle Obama invited students from across the country back to the White House on Tuesday to help harvest -- and eat -- the crops they helped plant about a month ago. Also included in the event were about a dozen New Jersey students whose communities were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The harvest consisted of kale, spinach, lettuce and other vegetables.
The traditional green-bean casserole often is the only green vegetable on the Thanksgiving menu, but autumn offers hearty options such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, chef and cookbook author Kim O'Donnel writes. She recommends adding kale to mashed potatoes, turning Brussels sprouts into a slaw side dish and roasting broccoli pickup sticks in the oven.
New Hampshire elementary-school Principal April Noble was a potato, art teacher Althea Woolf was a blueberry and administrative assistant Kathleen Chase was the top banana as staffers paraded in fruit and vegetable costumes to kick off nutrition week. Coordinator Sherry Boyd said parent feedback indicates that students get the message about healthy eating. The week also will include healthy foods brought in by restaurants.