Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Monday, May 24, 2010

Zucchini and summer squash two ways

Zucchini and summer squash were on sale at the grocery store. I grabbed about 7 small zucchinis and 4 small squash eager to have a taste of summer. I hoped the kids would be as excited as I was! Zucchini and summer squash are mild flavored veggies and make a great side dish for any meal. They are very low in calories and contain fiber plus Vitamins A and C. Vegetables like these are great ways to fill up your family's plates without adding a lot of calories.

These vegetables are GREAT grilled, but since I wasn't planning to grill I sliced all but one of each (more about the whole ones later). I heated about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and added the zucchini/squash, sauteeing for about 10 minutes until they were tender and some were starting to brown. I added salt and pepper and the zest of a lemon, plus the juice from half of it. Lila got a kick out of watching me zest like a Food Network Chef, and Deacon just kept repeating the word “zucchini.” He got a real kick out of how funny it sounded.

Now back to the zucchini and squash I didn't slice. I made thin spears of these and served them to the kids alongside the cooked zucchini (my picture is actually from the next day's lunch).

The kids did their tasting at dinner and liked the contrast between the mild, crunchy raw veggies and the steamy, lemony cooked ones. Deacon seemed to prefer the cooked version, while Lila munched on the raw. I don't think Lila would have eaten many veggies if I had just served her the cooked ones. The sauteed veggies were the perfect texture for Ned to eat chopped in small pieces.

Kids like choices, so offering a variety of a healthy item like vegetables may encourage them to eat more.

Today's tip: Whenever possible, leave some of your vegetables raw so your children can taste them both raw and cooked.

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