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LK!

Seasonal Eating

A Q&A With Community Action Head Start Nutrition & Wellness Coach, Sheila Stratton Community Action Head Start

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hen you think of seasonal eating, what do you envision? Perhaps it’s a plump red tomato set against a backdrop of lush green vines, a blue sky, and a yellow sun. Or maybe it’s a crisp green apple just waiting to be picked as autumn leaves crunch below your feet. In Nebraska, it’s easy to think about seasonal eating during growing months. But there are plenty of opportunities to eat seasonally in winter and early spring, too! And that’s good because seasonal eating provides many benefits. Sheila Stratton, Nutrition and Wellness Coach with Community Action Head Start, shares more: Q. What is seasonal eating? A. Seasonal eating is eating foods when they are at their peak. An easy example here in Nebraska is getting a fresh tomato off the vine in the summertime. You can get tomatoes throughout the year, but many agree that the taste doesn’t quite compare!

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Seasonal eating is also fun, as you get to try different things at different times depending upon when they’re ready to be harvested. Q. What are some benefits of eating seasonally? A. I can think of several, but flavor immediately comes to mind. We’re always trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, which certainly taste better when they’re at their peak. Eating seasonally also provides the opportunity to add variety into our diets, which is beneficial. Budget is also impacted. When items are in-season, they’re often available in abundance, which makes them less expensive. Q. What are some ways to eat seasonally during the winter, and can you provide some examples of seasonal food items we might see in the store right now? A. When I think of seasonal eating in the winter, the two colors I think of are orange and white. Even though there’s not a lot of growing in Nebraska right now, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, winter squash,

and rutabaga can be enjoyed in the winter because they can be stored in a cool place for longer periods of time. And thanks to growers in warmer climates, we see lots of citrus like oranges and grapefruit this time of year. Q. Do you have a favorite recipe or thing that you like to do with winter fruits/vegetables for kids? A. I have found that when we do our monthly food experiences within Head Start, that making any sort of vegetable into a “fry” by oven roasting is a good idea. Roasting vegetables intensifies the natural sugars

within. Sweet potatoes are a great example—all you have to do is cut them to whatever size you’d like, drizzle with a little olive oil and seasoning, place them evenly on a baking sheet, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. It’s a tasty, easy, and healthy snack for kids. Involve kids in the preparation process as appropriate, too—it’s a great practice for encouraging them to try new foods. Seasonal eating is just one of the topics explored as part of Community Action Head Start’s nutrition education work with children and families. Community Action Head Start is a comprehensive early childhood education program serving children ages birth to five and their families. The program provides both home- and center-based program options and is free to eligible families. For more information, including how to apply, visit communityactionatwork.org.

Profile for Lincoln Kids!

Lincoln Kids! Newspaper • Spring 2020 • February, March, April  

Your free, seasonal guide to family fun and resources in the Lincoln, Nebraska area! Geared towards families with children ages birth throug...

Lincoln Kids! Newspaper • Spring 2020 • February, March, April  

Your free, seasonal guide to family fun and resources in the Lincoln, Nebraska area! Geared towards families with children ages birth throug...