Nutritional Benefits of Strawberries Fuel Kids at School Year-Round
Across the country, an estimated 50 million or more kids are saying goodbye to the end of summer and hello to a new school year. Thankfully, we don’t need to pack away our favorite summer foods alongside our shorts and beach gear; the best tastes of summer can be enjoyed year-round. This year, the California Strawberry Commission is shining a spotlight on the nutritional benefits of strawberries to help kids start the school year off right with the foods they like most.
It’s no secret that kids in the U.S. today are facing a need for good nutrition, but parents need help to boost their nutrition knowledge. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers facilitated by the California Strawberry Commission, only nine percent of parents surveyed said that they regularly pack strawberries in their kids’ lunch boxes. This means kids could be missing out on some of the nutrition they need each day.
Knowing that a sugary diet is unhealthy for kids, parents’ own misconceptions keep this nutritional powerhouse out of their kids’ diets—in fact, strawberries are one of the lowest-sugar fruits in the proverbial basket, with 7 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. When quizzed on which common fruit had the least sugar, only 18% of consumers surveyed correctly chose “strawberries” compared to oranges, apples, bananas and grapes.
Kids heading back to school means more exposure to germs. Many parents are unaware of the immunity-boosting powers of California strawberries; in the same consumer survey, only one in ten respondents correctly identified strawberries as having the highest levels of vitamin C per serving compared to oranges (yes, oranges!), apples, bananas and grapes.
“Kids love strawberries and from a nutrition perspective, they love kids back,” said Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, and founder of Hispanic Food Communications Inc. “By encouraging kids to eat strawberries as part of their daily diet, parents will be giving them a leg up on a healthy, happy school year.”
Here are a few tips to pack a “power lunch” or “super snack” that will help your kid stay healthy this school year:
● Toss clean, trimmed California strawberries into a reusable container in your kid’s lunch box for a tasty, nutritious snack they won’t trade away in the cafeteria.
● Blend frozen California strawberries with milk, Greek yogurt and a little honey for a protein-packed breakfast smoothie that will stave off a grumbly tummy.
● Encourage your kid’s adventurous side by substituting strawberries into favorite tomato-based dishes – you’ll be surprised by how delicious a grilled cheese can be with provolone and California strawberries inside!
The inspiration doesn’t end there. Kids themselves can get in on the action and find new ways to prepare America’s favorite fruit. To pass along inspiration to your own little ones, try out this delicious Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad from recent California Strawberries #KidsCookOff contest winner, 12 year-old Danielle McNerney:
Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 3 servings
● 1½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced or chopped
● 1 cup dried quinoa, cooked (makes about 3 cups)
● ¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
● ¼ cup olive oil
● ¼ cup fresh basil
● *optional - salt and pepper to taste
● *optional - crumbled feta cheese
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions; set aside.
2. To flavor the olive oil with basil, in small pan, heat the olive oil and then sauté basil until crispy, about 4 minutes.
3. Remove basil and let drain on paper towel.
4. In mixing bowl, gently stir all ingredients.
5. Garnish with feta cheese and crumbled fried basil leaves.
For more recipes and information about California strawberries, please visit www.californiastrawberries.com.
About California Strawberry Commission
The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency located in Northern California charged with conducting research to support California's strawberry industry. With an emphasis on sustainable farming practices, the commission works with strategic partners focusing on production and nutrition research, food safety training and education, marketing and communications, trade relations and public policy. For more information related to California Strawberries, please visit www.californiastrawberries.com.