Happy March SNAP-Ed families! Hello again from your Massachusetts SNAP-Ed mascot, Broc! This month I want to share some cool information about National Nutrition Month, specifically about me-broccoli. With this being the first week of National Nutrition Month, let’s look at some of the things we can all do to stay healthy. Drink lots of water, learn to read the nutrition facts label, avoid distractions while eating and take time to enjoy your food. I know you are working hard to eat foods from all food groups, but let’s review all the benefits that broccoli provides for our bodies.
Most broccoli is green, like me, however, you can find it in white, orange, and purple. This vegetable is a part of the cabbage family and is closely related to cauliflower. Americans have grown broccoli for over 200 years and now most of it comes from California. Broccoli provides:
- Carbohydrates-for energy
- Fiber- gives you a full feeling and helps your digestive system work properly
- Protein-increases muscle strength builds strong bones, and lowers blood pressure
- Calcium-maintains strong bones and teeth
- Potassium-may help reduce blood pressure and regulates fluid balance
- Iron-great for energy and focus
- Vitamin A supports eye health and lowers the risk for certain cancers
- Vitamin C boosts the immune system and fights diabetes and heart disease
Broccoli is a great option for healthy snacks and meals. A half-cup of broccoli will give you as much calcium as a half-cup of orange juice! It is fat-free, cholesterol free, and sodium free! You can eat it raw with a homemade dip, steamed with spices, cooked in a soup or stew, or stir-fried with other vegetables. I know you kids often like your broccoli covered in cheese or a cream sauce, but next time maybe try it with lemon juice, sliced almonds, sesame seeds, toasted bread crumbs or lightly sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
Some books to help the finicky eater in your family include:
- Where Does Broccoli Come From? A book of vegetables, by Arielle Dani Lebovitz, 2018, for ages 4-8.
- Broccoli Trees, Yes Please! By Melissa Kent, 2017, for ages 3-5.
- Broccoli for Breakfast by Matilda James, 2018, for ages 4-8.