As a chef at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, I see how hard it is to get kids to eat the right foods. Because of this, I created the Chef-to-child Program. This program promotes healing and wellness for our long-term patients by allowing them to choose a healthy diet from a variety of special menu options.
These patients have diseases ranging from diabetes to cystic fibrosis and cancer, and they need to meet and maintain weight goals. It is especially important to help these kids find something they like to eat, that’s also good for them.
The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month is “eat right with color.” This will encourage children (and adults) to choose a variety of different fruits and vegetables to make each meal fun and colorful – and nutritious. Listed below are just a few benefits from these colorful foods.
• Red: tomatoes and red pepper. Red foods contain lycopene, which may help prevent certain cancers.
• Green: zucchini and green pepper. Green foods contain beta-carotene, which aids in better vision.
• Purple: eggplant. Purple foods contain anthocyanins and phenolics, which have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.
• White: onion and garlic. White foods contain allicin, which has numerous health benefits.
Using these colorful ingredients, I created a delicious recipe that follows this month’s guidelines of color.
Italian Rainbow Ratatouille
makes 8, six-ounce servings
- One five-by-six tomato cut into 10 wedges, lengthwise.
- One medium red pepper cut wide julienne, lengthwise.
- One medium green pepper cut wide julienne, lengthwise.
- One medium eggplant, with skin, largely diced (one and a half inch by one and a half inch).
- One medium yellow onion, largely diced.
- One tablespoon minced garlic.
- One ounce fresh basil, chopped (yes, you can use the stems too).
- One teaspoon dry oregano.
- Four ounces of a quality olive oil.
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
This is a simple and fun dish to cook. Sauté the vegetables in the olive oil, either separately or all at once. The veggies should have some color to them when done. Place the sautéed veggies in a baking dish and add the herbs and spices. Cover the dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve and enjoy.
Please post a comment or share your recipes if you have any suggestions to make our March menu a more colorful, nutritious one.
~ Wayne Roe, executive chef, manager, Nutritional Services, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin