We're no stranger to broccoli! This delicious veggie has appeared on our menus since our founding in 2005 but we're always innovating to incorporate fresh veggies into our meals in fun and exciting ways. The upcoming new menu item, Broccoli Cheddar Bites, is no exception. They are savory snacks, perfect for keeping kids satisfied throughout the day While you'll start to see this popping up on our menus, you can also prepare recipes with broccoli in your own home such as our Broccoli & Chickpea Farfalle Salad.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the healthiest, simplest vegetables we can eat - containing more Vitamin C than an orange (helping our immune system), as much calcium a milk (keeping our bones nice and strong), and tons of fiber (keeping our digestive tracks running smoothly).
In addition to the plentiful health benefits, broccoli tastes delicious and can be eaten in lots of ways! It can be eaten raw or cooked and has edible stems, a part of the plant that many immediately assume is garbage. The stems are that part of the vegetable that sprouts up from the ground but the florets, or the busy green tops, are the most commonly eaten component and are actually the flowers of the plant.
When you cook broccoli, it often becomes soft and mushy and can easily lose it's texture as well as flavor and nutrients. To avoid this, begin by cutting the florets into quarters and let sit for several minutes before cooking to enhance its health promoting benefits before steaming for just a quick 4 minutes. If you need any additional help getting your children to eat their vegetables - use our Tips for Choosy Eaters worksheet!
Simple to make, yet wholesome recipe perfect for a quick family dinner or side dish at a picnic in the park. The broccoli is the star of the show, followed closely behind by hearty chickpeas.
Resources for Parents and Teachers
1) The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest Check out one of our favorite resources for delicious, nutritious vegetarian meals. The author of this book, Mollie Katzen, is well known in the children's food space and has had a profound impact on building out recipes, specifically with broccoli!
2. Green, Green Broccoli! Think Duck Duck Goose but with vegetables. Brainstorm several different veggies with the children and explain that someone will walk around the outside of the circle lightly tapping his or her friend's heads. Instead of "Duck, Duck, Goose", he or she will say a vegetable and it's color. You can start with broccoli and then expand to others. The child will repeat the first word (Green, Green, Green) as he or she taps each classmates head until they say the second word (Broccoli) in which the child who was tapped will chase the other child around the circle until he or she lands back in the tagger's spot. If the child gets back to the spot before getting tagged the new child is now "it" and starts again with a new vegetable.
3. Color a Broccoli This page from our veggie coloring book is made specially for children to get accustomed to the shape and parts of a broccoli. Print this page out and let your children's imagination run wild!