Parents try so many ways to get kids to eat their veggies. They puree them in smoothies or mix them in baked goods. They make faces out of them or even have kids grow their own and cook them – a smart tactic to increase consumption. One of my favorite ways to encourage kids of all ages to eat their veggies (and fruit too) is to add a dip. Dips sell!
Think of a time when you’ve seen people at a party scarfing down vegetables – there is usually a dip involved. Flavorful, healthy dips are the way to go. And pairing them with artichoke leave “dipping sticks” skyrockets their nutrition. Artichokes are so good for you and your students! I like them because they provide a variety of nutrients.
They are an excellent source of fiber (they provide 7 grams per medium artichoke), contain niacin to provide energy and folate (31% of the daily recommended amount) to build new cells. They are a good source of magnesium and Vitamin K and also contain potassium, iron and zinc. They are low in calories (64 in total) and have almost zero fat. They are on the list of top 10 anti-oxidant rich foods. So they are loaded with nutrition!
Sadly though, we often eat artichokes with an abundant amount of butter, sour cream or mayonnaise, which kind of negates their healthfulness. An activity you can do with your students is to challenge them to make good-tasting healthy dips that boost the dipping veggies nutrition instead. Have them research recipes and/or shop for ingredients and prepare the dips in class. One of our school’s PE classes made a fiery harissa red pepper dip, Greek yogurt 3 ways (with strawberries), sweet beet hummus (with cucumber slices) and an Asian miso dip. Sweet beet hummus recipe is below and Greek yogurt recipes are on a separate blog page.
Sweet Beet Hummus
Boil beets first
1 large beet – remove skins and cut into bite-size chunks
Directions: · Bring a large pot of water to a boil · Add beet chunks · Cook for 20 minutes · Drain beets in a colander/strainer · Rinse with cool water · Add beets to recipe below.
To make hummus:
1 large boiled beet
1 – (15-oz.) can of chickpeas – drain in colander and rinse.
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp.) fresh squeezed or bottled lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions: Place all ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor and blend until smooth (approximately 1 minute). With processor running, remove cap at the top and add olive oil. Process until very smooth (another 30 seconds). Serve: Place a scoop of hummus on a plate or in a bowl. Serve with cucumber slices.
Beets from a package: measure out 2 cups of beets.
Adapted from: Weight Watchers magazine