Fruits and Vegetables in your diet

by Spencer Fortney

Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are chemicals found in plants. They provide many health benefits and there are about 200 phytochemicals in every plant. However, they are not essential for life, so they are not classified as a nutrient.


Health Benefits from different types:

Phytochemicals are beneficial in many ways. There are many different types of phytochemicals, each one giving you different benefits.


Beta-Carotene is a phytochemical that is found in peaches, carrots, and papayas. Our bodies use Beta-Carotene to make vitamin A.


Lycopene is another common phytochemical. It reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. Lycopene can be found in tomatoes, watermelon, and guava.

Lutein, often found in kale, spinach, and collard greens is a phytochemical that protects against blindness.


Phytochemicals have different colors including, red, yellow-orange, dark green, blue, purple, white, tan, brown, and green

MyPlate

MyPlate is a guide that you can find on the internet at www.choosemyplate.gov that lets you monitor how well your diet is. You insert foods and drinks that you have consumed in a day and it lets you know if you are getting enough of each food category. It is very useful for making sure you are receiving the right amount of health benefits from fruits and vegetables.
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Recipes

Red and Black Fruit Salad Recipe
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Ingredients

  • 2 red plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 3 mint leaves, coarsely torn (about 1 tablespoon)



Preparation

Toss plums, raspberries, and blueberries with sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon; let stand 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with pistachios and mint.

Spring Pie
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Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 x 270 g packet of filo pastry
  • 200 g baby spinach
  • 6 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1 tesapoon mustard powder
  • ½ a bunch of fresh chives
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 medium leeks


Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm baking dish with oil.

Get the kids to help you cover the baking dish with a layer of pastry, letting the edges overhang slightly. Brush with a little oil then add another layer of pastry, repeating until you have used it all (there should be 3 or 4 layers).

Boil the kettle, then place the spinach in a colander and pour over the hot water to wilt it (you may have to do this in 2 batches). Push the spinach down with the back of a spoon then when it’s cool enough to handle have the kids squeeze out any excess water, using their hands. Place the spinach on a board and roughly chop, then place in a large bowl and set aside.

Put the grill on high and grill the bacon till crisp, then set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Whisk in the milk and mustard powder, snip in the chives then grate in the lemon zest.

Have the kids crumble the cooled bacon into the spinach and then trim, slice and add the sliced leeks. Mix well and scatter into the filo pastry case. Pour over the egg mixture and carefully place the dish on the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until just set. Leave the pie to cool for 20 minutes before slicing. Delicious served with a crisp green salad.

Italian Barley and Sausage Casserole

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Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 4 ounces uncooked bulk turkey Italian sausage or smoked turkey Italian sausage link, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 3 cups sliced fresh button mushrooms (8 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups cooked barley*

  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato pasta sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup bottled roasted red sweet pepper, chopped

  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil

  • 1/2 cup red and/or yellow grape or cherry tomatoes, halved


Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat four 12- to 14-ounce individual casseroles with cooking spray; set aside. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until bulk sausage (if using) is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, using a wooden spoon to break up bulk sausage as it cooks. Drain off fat.
  2. Stir barley, pasta sauce, 1 cup of the cheese, the roasted pepper, olives, and 1 tablespoon of the basil into sausage mixture. Divide mixture among the prepared casseroles. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until heated through and cheese is melted. Top casseroles with tomatoes and the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.

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