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.
School nutrition professionals in Ohio districts are implementing new federal standards for school meals, in part by serving more fruits and vegetables and switching to whole grains. Gail McClary said her district has added spinach to the salad mix; another district is serving black beans, refried beans and northern beans to meet a requirement for legumes. "The students are slowly starting to eat the vegetables," said Brent Kasler, East Knox foodservice manager.
Winter radishes are a great ingredient for the chef looking to keep his kitchen stocked with seasonal produce all year long. Bolder and more complex than the light spring varieties, winter radishes come in all shapes and colors and are well suited to a multitude of recipes, from a simple roast to hearty risottos.
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.