Create a Vegetable Rainbow Using This Squash Recipe!

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(Sorry it wasn’t clearer. This was a suggestion for a friend, so it’s the only picture I have available.)

Child nutrition is something that I’m going to need to address as well as business practices simply because it affects kids’ health. Most of us are serving food that we prepare in our facilities, so we need to understand that what we offer will directly affect children both short and long term. I have had parents look at me with surprise when they discovered their children were eating vegetables at my house. One of the questions I get frequently is “How’d you get my child to eat healthy food?”

One of the benefits of peer interaction is that children are often encouraged to try new foods when they see their friends eating. I also eat with the children, so I’m going to prepare things that I enjoy eating as well. When children see that you are not just slopping a plate of goop in front of them and actually want to eat what you serve, they receive the message “This must be good.”

As a child, I don’t remember wanting to eat different foods. I was very finicky, but my dad kept exposing us to different foods (he used to cook in a restaurant). What he didn’t do was continually shock us with things that were so different that we were afraid to come to the table. We had things we liked with things that were new. So, I actually got this idea from one of the veggie side dishes he used to serve.

Squash Medley:

I usually add lots of vegetables just so I’ll have more for the evening, so you have to adjust for your needs. All vegetables should be chopped into bite size pieces.

½ head of cabbage
1 large onion (I prefer sweet or yellow)
3 large carrots
1 head of broccoli (you can use frozen also)
2 medium squash
2 medium zucchini
several small sweet bell peppers (red, orange, & yellow) I think I used 7 – 8 here.
olive oil
2 – 3 minced garlic cloves
soy sauce to taste (optional)
1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)

1.    1.   Heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, onions, & carrots. Saute for 2 – 3 minutes to soften.

2.    2.   Add bell peppers and continue to stir-fry so they do not burn.

3.   3.   Depending on the amount of space you have left in your pan, you may need to transfer this to a separate bowl to cook the remaining vegetables.

4.    4.  Add squash and zucchini to the pan, and stir-fry for approximately 3 minutes.

5.    5.  Add broccoli and cabbage. You may need to add cabbage a little at a time so it has time to wilt and fits into the pan. Continue stir-frying.

6.    6.  Combine all veggies if they are not together. Add oyster sauce. Toss in vegetables, reduce heat, and cover for a couple minutes.

7.   7.   Toss vegetables lightly to make sure they are not sticking and are softened to desired tenderness.

8.    8.  Serve warm/hot. (Reheats fine for a snack later.)

I like to place my vegetables on rice and serve with soy sauce. This usually accompanies a small portion of baked tilapia. The last time I served this dish, the fish became the side dish while the vegetables were the main dish! If you want more splash of color, add shredded purple cabbage. Purple bell peppers tend to turn translucent, so they don’t tend to work well. You can use this as part of any color lesson plan, themes with rainbows, teachings on differences & cooperation, and a variety of other ideas.

See ya next time!


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