April Foods: Fun Food Facts and Meal Ideas

Eating with the seasons helps keep our meals varied and interesting. It also helps to ensure that we are getting a balance of the nutrients our bodies need. Here are some Spring food suggestions to try with your family and fun food facts for the kids. We've also also added nutritional information - some of it may surprise you!

pineapple

Fruit

Pineapples

Pineapple’s spiky crown attracts the attention it deserves. This fragrant juicy fruit is as versatile as it is good for you. Although they are not grouped as a citrus fruit, pineapples have a similarly acidic sweet juice. Pineapple supplies healthy doses of vitamin C (an important antioxidant), manganese, thiamine and B vitamins. It’s also an good source of fiber and enzymes that promote a healthy digestive system. Have fun and be creative with pineapple in adding it to your meals. Serve it fresh in fruit salad, grilled accompanying ham, cubed in savory salsa and paired with fish. Never sliced a whole pineapple? Here's an easy how to video.

Other fruit suggestions: apricots, strawberries, mangos

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Vegetables

Spinach

This is the best time of year for fresh spinach. Beloved by Popeye - and for a reason. Spinach has an amazing combination of nutrients that make a body strong! Spinach supplies vitamins K, A and C, and essential minerals such as folate, magnesium, and iron. Spinach is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection. Enjoy baby spinach in salads as its leaves are slightly milder when eaten raw. Sauté or add whole spinach to soups and stews right before serving. A tasty Weelcious Spinach & Prosciutto Calzone Recipe that kids will love to make and eat.

Other vegetable suggestions: artichokes, asparagus, peas, broccoli

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Grains

Couscous

When the air gets warmer, it's nice to change from heavier starches to nice light grains. Couscous is the world’s tiniest pasta! It is made of semolina wheat and although similar to pasta it actually supplies at least two times the nutritional value of pasta. Couscous is a good source of protein, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamine, selenium, folate and pantothenic acid. Couscous is a staple food across the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean. It has also become quite popular in countries around the world. Traditionally couscous is served with meat and vegetable stews but there are many ways to enjoy it. Quick preparation couscous is readily available and perfect to help you make a healthy meal in minutes. When cooked properly, couscous should be fluffy and light. It has a slight nutty texture and flavor which compliments most anything you pair it with and goes well with all of our Spring suggestions.

lamb

Protein

Lamb

The best lamb is available in the springtime but can be found year-round. The meat is tender and buttery and can be prepared in a variety of ways depending on the cut. Lamb burgers, rack of lamb, slowly braised lamb stews and other wonderful dishes add diversity to your lunch and dinner offerings. Young carrots and peas are an ideal accompaniment. Like all red meats it is high in saturated fat, but also a great source of protein (a single serving providing over 60 percent of the daily requirement). Lamb also supplies zinc and vitamin B12 - both needed for energy and healthy immune functions.

Other protein suggestions: eggs, sesame seeds, chickpeas

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Dairy

Goat Cheese

Goats were one of the first domesticated animals and their milk is one of the earliest dairy products. Goat cheese (in French, chèvre) is a lovely creamy slightly tart tasting cheese. It has been made and enjoyed for thousands of years. The tradition of making goat cheese continues in many countries around the world. There are several benefits of goat’s milk products over cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk and goat cheese is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than a cow’s milk cream cheese. It also provides more calcium and fewer carbohydrates. So next time you’re passing out the bagels, try serving them with goat cheese and a side of honey. Yum!

Other dairy or calcium rich suggestions: leafy greens, Greek feta, yogurt

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