Are you ready to embark on a new adventure?!
Each month I want to share some awesome resources for eating just a tiny bit healthier, for discovering new foods, exploring new recipes, and for helping your family be more adventurous in the kitchen and at the dinner table. *Make sure you read the entire post, there is something special at the end!
Why it is important to Eat Seasonal?
Focusing your meals around eating foods that are “in season” might seem like a trend, but there are some awesome advantages to eating this way! Not only will this help you save money on your groceries (because we all know strawberries in January are super expensive!) but the produce you do buy will be at its peak season – meaning it tastes better, its cheaper, and it has the best nutritional value.
How do I incorporate new foods into my meal plan?
For some, adding new and different foods into your meal plan can seem stressful. Learning to cook a new recipe or with a new ingredient can seem daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start, if your family is picky, or if you aren’t even sure what to do with a new ingredient.
The best place to start is the simplest – you don’t need a ridiculously fancy and overly complicated recipe. Incorporating a new ingredient or seasoning into the types of foods your family already eats will help ensure that they are more likely to try it. That way it seems like a trusted, well known “safe” food and not something scary and alien.
For more information on how to make meal planning easy, read my post about How to Meal Plan Like A Boss (and download the awesome free printable workbook!).
How to get kids to try new foods?
Knowing how your kids respond to food is super important here. Do they tend to love roasted or grilled vegetables but won’t touch them if they have been steamed? Will they eat anything if there is something to dip it in? Will they eat anything covered in cheese, or baked into a casserole? Knowing this information and incorporating it into your new food experiences is seriously key!
Getting your kids involved in this experience is really important, too. Have them help you pick out a recipe to try, take them to the store with you to find the ingredient, and have them help you prepare it. The more involved your family is in the entire process of trying a new food, the more likely they will be to try it!
For more information on how to get your kids (and spouses, too, maybe!) interested in trying new foods, read my post on Raising Adventurous Eaters.
Below you will find just a few of the awesome produce that is available at its peak for February. I challenge you to try ONE new food this month!
Radishes have a peppery, satisfying crunch! Fun fact – mention of the radish has been found in historical Chinese documents dating as early as 2700 BC and Egyptians were cultivating them before they built the pyramids! Radishes are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, as well as being a natural diuretic. Radishes are awesome raw, but are also super great pickled!
How to Pick Radishes
Buy radishes that are not too large, as they are likely to be hollow or pithy.
How to Store Radishes
Store radishes in the refrigerator. Wash them well and remove the greens from the top before placing them in plastic baggies with a paper towel in the bottom.
- Radish, Cucumber, & Jicama salad with Basil-Mint Vinaigrette – This light and refreshing salad is delightfully crunchy and slightly sweet.
- Roasted Radishes – this easy and quick side dish will have you thinking about radishes in a whole new way!
- Quick Pickled Radishes – This easy 15 minute recipe is awesome! An awesome addition to tacos, sandwiches or salads!
Grapefruit has tons of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, is a great source of flavonoids (which helps boost that good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol), has lycopene to help your heart, and is also filled with fiber! It does have a slightly sour taste to it, which can be hit-or-miss with kiddos. Try mixing it in to a fruit salad, using it in smoothies, or finding a fun way to use the juice and fruit in desserts!
How to Pick Grapefruit
Pick a grapefruit that feels plump and firm with a fairly smooth and thin skin. It should feel heavier than it looks (that means its perfectly ripe!).
How to Store Grapefruit
Remember to handle your grapefruit gently – they will bruise easily and don’t do well to rough handling or stacking. Do not store in a plastic bag or closed container. Grapefruit do best with good air circulation, either loose or in an open bowl on the counter. They are best if used within a week of purchase.
- Citrus Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a great way to enjoy super fresh produce in a fun way! Enjoy it by itself or pair it with some grilled or baked chicken for a full meal.
- Crab and Grapefruit Stuffed Avocado makes for a fun and flavorful lunch!
- Honey Grapefruit with Banana is an easy peasy snack or dessert your kiddos will love helping you prepare, and eat! Its simple yet full of flavor!
Lemons! Beyond lemonade, lemons are an awesome addition to meals! Lemons are associated with so many health benefits, cleaning properties, and more! This tart little yellow guy should totally be labeled as a super food!
How to Pick Lemons
The best, juiciest lemons are ether ones that give a little when you squeeze them! The softer ones have less pitch and more juice. Make sure they are uniformly soft, but not squishy and feel heavy.
How to Store Lemons
Lemons store well on the counter for about a week, but will last the longest in a plastic bag in the fridge (a whole month!!).
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders – A 30 minute, kid-friendly recipe for baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders that are crunchy and flavorful on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
- Lemony Broccoli Pasta – With bold flavors, ample veggies, and serious comfort-food cred, this lemony spaghetti with broccoli and Parmesan deserves to be in regular dinner rotation.
- Skillet Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Potatoes – This skillet chicken dinner is an easy and super flavorful way to do a weeknight meal! Packed with perfectly cooked carrots and potatoes, flavored amazingly with lemon, garlic and rosemary – and it takes about 40 minutes from start to finish! The perfect weeknight meal!
Leeks are like crazy big green onions! They have a slightly delicate and sweet onion flavor and are a versatile and lovely addition to all kinds of recipes, especially where you don’t want a big onion flavor.
How to Pick Leeks
Pick leeks with a clean white slender bulb. The green tops should be firm and tightly rolled. The younger the leek, the more delicate the flavor and texture, so look for slim, cylindrical ones rather than large and bulbous. Make sure it isn’t limp, and that it doesn’t have a hard seed stalk in the center (this would mean it would have a tough and woody center).
How to Store Leeks
Store leeks wrapped tightly in plastic in the vegetable drawer of your fridge to contain its odor and moisture. Do not trim or wash before storing. They will last about 5 days to about 2 weeks, depend on the freshness of when you bought them.
- Based Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes and Leeks – this rich and comforting stew-like dish is perfect for a cold day when you need a slow cooked meal!
- Leek and Parmesan Muffins – These muffins are a perfect make-ahead kid-friendly breakfast or snack!
- Creamy Potato and Leek Soup – Creamy Potato and Leek Soup is a delicious comfort soup for those cold and chilly fall days. This soup is made without any cream, and the secret to its creamy texture is the pureed potatoes.
Whether you call it Purple Cabbage or Red Cabbage, this low calorie guy is the perfect crunch addition to so many recipes! We love adding it on top of tacos, in salsas and salads, and more! Purple cabbage is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Vitamin A. The purple color is due to anthocyanin, which help to reduce cholesterol, decrease inflammation, improve immune stem and vision, and a lot more! Definitely add it to your meal plan!
How to Pick Cabbage
Pick cabbage heads that are large and compact (not fluffy) and feel heavy for their size. Check the bottom of the cabbage to make sure the leaves are not starting to separate from the step – this is in indication of age.
How to Store Cabbage
Store cabbage in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. You can store it in a plastic bag to help retain its moisture , but it is not necessary. Do not wash until you are ready to use it.
- Aunt Jeanne’s Cabbage Soup – This Cabbage Soup is a healthy and easy recipe to keep you warm and cozy all winter! Made with hamburger meat and tons of simple vegetables, it’s the best way to warm up on a cold day!
- Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry – This fast and easy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is a filling low carb dinner with big flavor and endless possibilities for customization.
- Purple Cabbage and Apple Salad – This brightly colored side dish will spruce up any meal!
- Peanut Noodles with Cabbage and Basil – These peanut noodles with crunchy purple cabbage and fresh basil are so delicious, you may bust into song when you see them!
Jicama is a fun tuber from Mexico and South America. It is crunchy, and tastes like a cross between an apple and a water chestnut. The skin of the jicama is not edible, so make sure you peel it before eating. You can grate it, dice it into cubes, cut it into slices or strips. You can eat this raw or cooked.
How to Pick Jicama
Pick Jicama that is small to medium sized and shiny. Avoid jicama tubers that are dull and have lots of blemishes.
How to Store Jicama
Store uncut jicama in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks (like you would a potato). It will mold if it gets wet, so keep it dry. Once cut, store in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
- Garlic Parmesan Jicama Fries – These home cut fries are tasty and fun!
- Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing – Whip up this refreshing jicama and carrot slaw recipe to serve as a side dish or pile high on fish tacos.
And now, my friends, I have a challenge for you! If adding new fruits and vegetables to your meals is important to you and your family, you are totally going to want to join in on this monthly challenge! I challenge you and your family to try ONE of these in season produce items this month!
Will it be something you have never attempted before? Will it be something you once tried & didn’t like?
Whatever the case, I challenge you to get your whole family on board and try something new!
HOW TO JOIN:
- Pick one of the produces highlighted above and make something delicious with it by the end of February!
- Post a photo onto social media (for example, Facebook or Instagram) and tag me (@GingeredWhisk) and use the hashtag #ProduceAdventurers. You need to make sure that your post is public so I can see it.
Leave a comment below telling me what you are going to try!