The Tale of Three Sisters
This month at our Healthy Eating Lessons in Jersey City, East Orange, and Newark, we featured a stringy type of produce that is yellow. The students loved the recipe we made this month using delicious spaghetti squash!
One of our teachers, Matt, is a member of our farm team as well as our programming team. This month he taught the lesson of the three sisters to the children. He explained how one sister is tall, another sister uses her tall sister for support, and the third sister protects the place where they live. The children began guessing who these sisters were and where they lived. Matt explained that the tall sister is corn, and beans, the second sister, use her strong stalks for support as they grow. The third sister is squash, and she protects the ground that her family grows on and keeps them safe from pests. The children were excited to be able to create a recipe using the protective sister, squash.
The fun yellow squash we featured this month was the spaghetti squash! Our team baked the squash in advance so that the children they were easily able to shred it. They giggled and shrieked with excitement, “It looks like noodles!” and “It looks like cheese.” One student exclaimed, “It looks delicious!” After everyone shredded their portions, we heated the squash in skillets. While the squash was warming up, the children got to chop tomatoes and cheese to make a spaghetti masterpiece. When we served the heated squash, each child got to create their own delicious meal with cheese, tomatoes, pasta sauce, oregano, and basil. Our young chefs enjoyed displaying their creativity just as much as they liked eating the final product.
Yellow produce contains lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. These nutrients are great for heart, bone, and eye health, and the vitamin C boosts the immune system as well. Pasta has over 100 calories per serving, while spaghetti squash has only about 20 calories, is richer in protein, and has far fewer carbohydrates than pasta’s 31 grams per serving. Spaghetti squash is known as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, vegetable marrow, and squa-ghetti.
Of the 280 children we worked with this month, only 78, or less than one-third of the students, had tried spaghetti squash before our lessons. We are excited to introduce the health benefits of white produce in April. Here’s a hint: I like to eat, eat, eat, ______________!