When I was growing up, my mom was excellent about making sure that we always had fruit and vegetables with our dinner. I actually really loved eating fresh food when I was a child, including the broccoli that my sister turned green even looking at. I had to draw the line at lima beans and brussel sprouts though.
Doug and I as we embarked on our adult life were not....great... about including fresh foods. Okay we were terrible. Many times we were lucky if we saw a fresh fruit or veggie in any of our foods. Our fajitas and other main meals that featured fresh veggies were the exception rather than the rule.
Recently we were introduced to Bountiful Baskets. You have to log on early, especially if you are in a high demand area. Our baskets sell out in about 5 minutes. Oh wait...they get touchy on facebook if you say "sell". Rather "all contribution slots are spoken for in 5 minutes or less." Suddenly "sell out" seems much easier to say and type....but I digress.
We were underwhelmed with our first basket. It was about half of what we have been getting every other week. But since then we have been flooded with wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables. And since Bountiful Baskets is now a good half of our food budget we don't want anything to go bad. Our meals have suddenly bloomed with variety as we learn how to cook new foots and we are forced to experiment. Some of our experiements have met with success and some of the are massive failures. I don't care how often you read it...boiled Jicama does NOT mash.
Anyway, we had noticed that Nora was slowly constricting herself to fewer and fewer foods. She would dive into a basket of berries, but was turning her nose up at bananas and other veggies. I realized with a sinking feeling that her father and I were stunting her exposure to foods which can either set a young adult out looking for more flavors or make them run and hide when someone tries to introduce new foods.
Fruits and vegetables, especially before they have been cooked to death are full of micro and macro nutrients. During their formative years, children are using every smidgen of good nutrition to store away in their bodies to ward of future illnesses and diseases. Without a proper mix, some vitamins and nutrients can not be fully utilized by our bodies. And the incredible genius that created our world made most of those nutrients together in one food. Often times foods filled with calcium also contain vitamin D which unlocks that calcium for usage within our bodies.
Fruits and veggies also contain lots of helpful fiber to keep a child full and their system moving...
Not only are fresh fruits and vegetables good for you, they are part of the primary producers of our planet-which means the energy they give us is only one step away from pure sun energy. Energy given to us by meat and animal source (milk and cheese) are at a minimum two steps away from pure sun energy as meat animals must consume plant (and sometimes other animal) energy sources.
Finally. fresh fruits and vegetables are colored with all the colors of the rainbow- and a crayola box. Kids can have fun picking fruits and vegetables that match with their favorite colors, and creating edible works of art....if they will stop eatting the artwork long enough to create with it!