Annrose M. Guarino | 12/2/2005 3:07:37 AM
How can you help your child learn where foods come from? Next time you are at the grocery store or farmer’s market, help your child identify foods that are examples of roots, stems, leaves, fruits, flowers and seeds.
LSU AgCenter food and nutrition professor Dr. Annrose Guarino offers some examples of what to look for: roots (carrots, turnips, beets, radishes); stems (celery and asparagus); leaves (spinach, cabbage, lettuce); fruits (apples, pears, plums); flowers (broccoli, cauliflower); and seeds (corn, peas, dry beans, oats, nuts).
The nutritionist says to talk to your child about how the root vegetables grow underground, just like the roots of a tree or houseplant. Point out how each broccoli floret is a bud, like a flower waiting to open. At home, cut open an orange and show your child the seeds. The fruit is the seed-bearing part of the plant.
Guarino also suggests growing a plant so your child can watch it grow. This project will show how roots and stems pull water up into a plant. Try it with a stalk of celery.
1. Cut off about 1 inch from the bottom of the stalk.
2. Put the stalk in water, cut-side down.
3. Add food coloring until the water is dark. Blue and red work the best.
4. Let the stalk stand for 24 hours.
5. Look at the stalk the next day.
6. If you scrape the colored stalk, you can see the colored tubes, which the stalk uses to draw nutrients.
7. Cut the stalk in half and talk about what you see.
"Remember to increase your family’s intake of fruits and vegetables by offering healthy snacks and including them in meals," Guarino says, adding, "Aim for 5 to 9 servings of fruits or vegetables each day."
For related nutrition topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.