Thursday, April 28, 2011

5 Servings a Day

I grew up thinking I hated most fruits and vegetables.  We either never had them, or my mom would only buy canned.  I have no idea why this was.  Perhaps this was how my mother was raised.  Perhaps because we lived in a small, rural town fresh fruits and vegetables weren't readily available.  Or perhaps she just didn't like them and therefore never bought them.  My guess is it was probably a combination of all these reasons. 

Watermelon:  my mom had an incident as a child where her throat swelled up after eating watermelon and therefore decided she was allergic to any kind of melon.  I guess it never occurred to her that we weren't, and would perhaps enjoy some watermelon every now and then.  I find the seeds a little annoying, and that is probably the reason why I don't eat much watermelon today, but I still like it and don't have any allergy problems with it. 

Canteloupe:  perhaps my mom thought her watermelon allergy carried over to others in the melon family?  Thus, I never tried canteloupe until I was in college.  I remember the first time my roommate brought one home.  I watched, completely fascinated, as she cut it open and cut it away from it's hard shell.  I tried my first piece and it was so good!  She even showed me the trick that salting the melon really brings out the flavor.

Pineapple:  I can't remember the first time I tried pineapple.  This may have been another fruit my college roommate introduced me to.  What I do know is once I had fresh pineapple, I could never go back to eating canned.  I can't even begin to explain how bad I think canned pineapple tastes.  It's hard and unflavorful.  The only time I'll buy canned pineapple is to have on hand for homemade canadian bacon & pineapple pizza.  Once it's cooked I don't notice the texture as much. 

Peaches & Pears:  I feel the same way about these canned fruits as I do pineapple.  Hard.  That's the only word I can come up with that describes them.  As an adult, I love a fresh pear. Pears have to be at the perfect ripeness in order for me to enjoy, but once it's there I can't get enough. 

Spinach:  my only memory of spinach as a child was from school lunches.  They always served the nasty-looking, and nasty-tasting, cooked spinach with lunches.  I don't think one child ever ate it, so why they continued to serve it is beyond me.  However, as an adult I've found I actually like fresh spinach.  It makes for a great salad.  Spinach and artichoke dip also makes for a very tasty treat :)

Sweet potatoes:  the first time I was introduced to sweet potatoes was just a couple years ago.  Some co-workers and I had gone out after work for a drink at a local bar, and one of my coworkers ordered sweet potato fries.  Um, can I say delicious?  I was hooked.  I was on a mission to look for sweet potato fries on every menu at every restaurant I went to after that.  I even got brave a few months later to try a plain old baked sweet potato.  Add a little butter and ranch dressing and you've got yourself a yummy and healthy alternative to a regular baked potato. 

Asparagus:  this is another vegetable I didn't try until a couple years ago.  I love to watch shows on the Food Network, and it always seemed like they were cooking with asparagus.  I decided to get brave and try it for myself.  I found an easy recipe for roasting asparagus.  I brush it with olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper on it, and bake at 400 degress for about 10-15 minutes.  Even my husband loves it, and it's become a staple side dish in the summertime at our house. 

There are still plenty of fruits and vegetables that I need to try.  The older I get the more experiemental I get, and I hope to continue to broaden my horizon of these healthy foods.  I am determined to always have fresh fruits & veggies in the house once we have kids.  I want our children to grow up with these foods as a part of their regular diet.  I hope in doing that they will choose healthy foods over unhealthy junk foods as they make their way through life.  And in turn, will live long, healthy lives.

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