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.
Chefs and restaurants will get more creative with salads and vegetable dishes next year as more consumers discover the benefits of going meatless at more meals, Technomic predicts in its trend list for 2013. Chicken and a wider selection of grains are also likely to show up on more menus next year, the report says, along with smaller dishes that feed our growing hunger for snacks.
Branding may be the key to getting children to eat their vegetables, according to a recent study. Researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab found that students were more likely to eat fruits and vegetables with catchy names, such as X-Ray Vision Carrots, Power Punch Broccoli, Tiny Tasty Tree Tops and Silly Dilly Green Beans. Researchers found that students were more likely to eat such offerings over a "Food of the Day" option.
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.