In my last article, Tips For Creating Your Own Three Star Recipe, I explained that one of the easiest ways to improve the nutritional benefit of your home-cooked recipes is to start with star-rated ingredients.
While the Food Finder tool on the Guiding Stars website is a great way to assess the overall nutrition of the foods and ingredients you use, there’s one sure way to all but guarantee your recipe will be fresh, tasty, and healthy: use lots of fruits and vegetables.
Last month, I developed a healthy menu for one of several Guest Chef days at a local school, and I needed an easy, cheap, and appealing side dish to satisfy the fruit and vegetable requirement in the meal. It was important that I created something that would be received well by fourth and fifth graders because I wanted to ensure they had a positive experience with healthy food.
While a vegetable like corn or a fresh apple would’ve sufficed–and indeed, they probably would’ve eaten either–I instead chose to create a fruit salsa made with USDA commodity surplus foods. We combined chopped strawberries, peaches, blueberries and pineapple and flavored the mixture with fresh lime juice and zest. Served with homemade baked cinnamon chips made from whole wheat tortillas, it was the talk of the lunch room.
Almost every child I spoke to that day was elated to hear that we would be providing them and their families with the recipe for the salsa, and several mentioned they would love to have fruit salsa in their lunch boxes every day. Imagine that: kids begging for a recipe made solely from ingredients found in the produce aisle.
This salsa can be made with fresh or frozen fruit. Canned pineapple works great too, but the key is to make sure that none of your processed fruits are packed in sugar syrup, or you’ll end up negating the nutritional benefits with all that sugar.
The salsa can be made ahead and stored for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Developed to work with the resources available to a public school lunch program and specially designed to appeal to kids, this fruit salsa is a healthy and tasty snack ideal for serving to any group of kids. Serve it up at your next classroom party or send it with your kids as a mid-day snack—either way, you win.
Servings: 4 (127 g )
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 1 cup chopped peaches
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- ¼ tsp. lime zest
- Place ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Allow salsa to sit in the refrigerator for flavors to meld (30 minutes).