April is Fresh Florida Tomato Month

I’ve had the honor of receiving a guest post from Produce for Kids! This wonderful organization stands for healthy family eating and provides great recipes and tips to help your kids eat better so they can have the energy to move more, learn more, and be healthy and strong. Produce for Kids also raises funds for local children’s non-profit organizations, click here to learn more. All recipes and the nutritional tomato tips are credited to Produce for Kids Pop Advisory Board member and Registered Dietician, Estela Schnelle.

April is Fresh Florida Tomato Month and in the spirit of this fantastic fruit, we wanted to share the nutritional benefits of tomatoes and some delicious and easy recipes revolving around the nutritional powerhouse from Produce for Kids. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat between 22- 24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year. (More than half of that consumption is ketchup and tomato sauce.) In addition, the tomato is the fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions in the U.S.

Most people know that tomatoes are good for you, but how many people know why? Here are some fun facts about tomatoes from PFK Pop advisory board member and Registered Dietician, Estela Schnelle:

·Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, & potassium

·Tomatoes are also one of the foods that contain the highest amount of Lycopene, which is the pigment that give tomatoes, and certain fruits and vegetables their color

·Lycopene appears to have antioxidant capabilities and is very good for the eyes

· Research shows that a diet rich in Lycopene may be associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and heart disease

Produce for Kids is a fantastic resource to help parents and kids learn about the benefits of consuming fresh produce by providing healthful meal solutions, videos, podcasts and much, much more. The site even hosts an advisory board made up of parents with a wide range of expertise who can provide additional tools and resources on how you can easily incorporate fruits and veggies into your family’s daily routine. To celebrate, we thought we would also give you some fantastic tomato recipes from Ideal Meals, provided by Produce for Kids:

Guacamole Tomato Boats

Serves 2

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Guacamole Tomato Boats (244x216)

Ingredients:

·2 medium tomatoes on the vine

·8 Tbsp. guacamole (liberal tablespoonfuls)

·8 Tbsp. salsa

·4 Tbsp. grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400° F or turn broiler on High.
2. Wash and dry tomatoes.
3. Slice tomatoes in half, cross section wise, and scoop out the insides, being careful not to puncture/tear the bottom of the tomato half.
4. With open side of tomato facing up, fill with guacamole, then salsa, and garnish with cheddar cheese.
5. Bake/broil until cheese melts, then remove from oven.

Nutrition Information:

Guacamole Tomato Boats Calories 365; Fat ; Protein ; Carbohydrate ; Fiber 7.2g; Cholesterol 1.5mg; Sodium 484mg; Calcium 16%DV; Vitamin A 62%DV; Vitamin C 97%DV; Iron 8%DV

Peach Tomato Salsa

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Peach Salsa (219x231)

Ingredients:

·2 tomatoes

·1 medium nectarine peeled and chopped

·1 medium peach, peeled and chopped

·¼ cup Vidalia® onion, chopped

·2 Tbsp. lime juice

·3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

·1/8 tsp. salt

· Additional Meal Items:

·1 seedless cucumber, sliced

·4 corn tortillas, 6-inch diameter, cut into 8 triangles

·Nonstick cooking spray

· 1 cup low-fat milk or juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In a medium serving bowl, gently combine the tomatoes, peaches and onion.

3. Gently stir in the lime juice, cilantro and salt.  Let set 15 mins. before serving to allow flavors to meld.

4. While salsa marinates, place tortilla triangles on a baking pan.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 5-6 mins. or until lightly browned.

Nutrition Information:

Peach Tomato Salsa Calories Calories 220 (69% carbohydrate, 20% protein, 12% fat); Fat ; Protein ; Carbohydrate ; Fiber 4g; Cholesterol 12mg; Sodium 240mg; Calcium 34% DV; Vitamin A 27% DV; Vitamin C 30% DV; Iron 5% DV

To find other great recipes revolving around fresh produce visit: http://www.produceforkids.com/healthy_eating/ideal_meals.html.

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