Get Your Family to Eat Healthy With the 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee
In many families—ours included—it can be a challenge to get kids to eat healthy. While our kids aren't particularly picky eaters, they do gravitate toward the kid staples like mac-and-cheese and pizza, but that all changes if we get them involved in the kitchen to try new things. That's also the premise behind the new book The 52 New Foods Challenge (336 pages, Avery, 2014; $20) by local San Francisco Bay Area author Jennifer Tyler Lee.
In this welcome addition to any parent's kitchen library, Lee offers a guide to getting kids to eat fresh, healthy, seasonal food by experiencing cooking adventures like exploring the farmers' market, growing food in the backyard, and of course making fun, delicious recipes together. This week-by-week guide features over 150 recipes and activities designed to inspire your kids' creativity and build confidence in the kitchen.
Recipes in the book are organized by season, starting with fall, and a new seasonal ingredient is introduced each week. For instance, fall's offerings include garlic, brussels sprouts, rainbow carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, apples, and whole wheat flour. You can make trying new foods into a game through a points system (each ingredient is assigned a certain number of points) or an "eat your colors" approach. Either way, it helps get kids to try new things and eat healthy!
Brussels sprouts, for example, get two different kid-friendly treatments: roasting the whole sprouts with bacon and separating into leaves and roasting into Brussels sprouts chips—a variation on the ever-popular kale chips. We tried a few of the fall recipes, including the brussels sprouts and crispy sweet potato fries. They were fun and easy to make and, most importantly, delicious. We plan on thoroughly testing our review copy of the book over fall and winter (and in the spring and summer, too).
Jennifer's family cooking adventures have been shared by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Rachael Ray, and she's hosted events for Pottery Barn Kids, Whole Foods, and Google. Her award-winning series of healthy eating games, Crunch a Color, were voted into Dr. Toy's top-10 picks.
Jennifer let us share her recipe for Brussels sprouts chips here:
Brussels Sprouts Chips
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Peel away the leaves from the sprouts using your fingers.
- Place the leaves on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the oil and salt and toss to combine.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then toss the leaves in the pan. Reduce the heat to 250ºF and bake the sprouts for 10 minutes more, or until the leaves are crispy and almost burnt.
Tip: To peel the leaves, cut off the ends, turn the sprouts over, and gently pry the leaves away starting at the stem. Trim off the ends as you go to make it easier to peel away the layers. This takes patience (and time), but it's a fun activity for your kids. As you get close to the center, the leaves will become too tight to peel, so simply save the small pieces for sautéing or roasting.
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