The more research I read, the more I’m convinced that we place too much emphasis on whether we should be eating low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, high protein, etc. Each diet camp has research to support their side and it all contradicts one another. I’m here to say, forget about it! Instead, let’s focus on including foods that provide the most micronutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. In other words, the focus should be on more fruits and vegetables! As soon as we design our diet plan around these foods using our meal planner notebook, the healthier our kids will be.
I’m in the middle of reading for a second time, Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Super Immunity. He says “Phytochemicals (found in fruits and vegetables) have been found to play protective roles NOT covered by vitamins and minerals! These include:
- Inducing detoxification enzymes
- Controlling the production of free radicals
- Deactivating and detoxifying cancer causing agents.
- Protecting cell structures fro damage by toxins
- Fueling mechanisms to repair damaged DNA sequences
- Impeding the replication of cells with DNA damage
- Inducing beneficial antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects
- Inhibiting the function of damaged or genetically altered DNA
- Improving immune cells’ cytotoxic (destructive) power, that is, the power to kill microbes and cancer cells.(source)
The bottom line- let’s not focus on all the foods or food groups that we should eliminate! Let’s teach our kids to create meals and habits around fruits and veggies! The rest will fall into place.
So, in an effort to get kids to LOVE fruits and vegetables, I brought a fruit salad to our church activity last night. It was huge! It was delicious! It was colorful! And, it was eaten in it’s entirety by hungry teenagers. I literally did not bring one morsel of this salad home. Luckily, I gave my family some before I left.
Fruit Salad Recipe
So, in order to have enough fruit salad for a Potluck, or a big crowd, I used:
- 4 lbs strawberries, washed and chopped
- 4 kiwi’s, skinned, and chopped
- 1 pint blueberries, washed
- 1 pint blackberries, washed
- 1 cup red grapes
- 2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
For my family last night, they also had some sautéed peppers. I used
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 orange pepper, sliced into strips
Place all vegetables in a skillet with 1 tsp of olive oil or cooking spray. Stir around until vegetables become soft and tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Having a balanced meal is as easy as making half your meal fruits and vegetables. For more ideas on making half your meal fruits and vegetables, visit our healthy kids plate pages.