Lunch Menus & Nutritional Information
Peas are plants that belong in the same family as legumes. There are hundreds of varieties that are mostly cultivated in cooler climates, on a well-drained and fertile soil. Peas grow on a climbing plant which produces pods containing seeds or peas. A mature pod is generally inedible and the peas must be shelled before eating (shelled peas). In the edible-podded types, the seeds are immature and softer than those which are shelled. The edible pods are often much flatter and have rounded bumps along the sides. The most common edible pods are the Sugar Snap and Snow Peas. Peas are a great source of fiber, vitamin C (especially edible-podded peas) and a good source of B vitamins and potassium which make them a great addition to any snack or meal.
Strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside. The average strawberry has more than 150 seeds on its surface. Washington’s long mild spring, warm summer days, cool summer nights, and fertile soils combine to help Washington farmers grow very sweet strawberries. It takes about a month from when the strawberry flower first opens for the fruit to become ripe and ready to eat. Different varieties will produce fruit once, twice, or throughout the summer. Anthocyanins give strawberries their red color. They also are powerful antioxidants and could help prevent cancer. Believe it or not, Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges! Vitamin C helps bones, teeth, gums and blood vessels stay healthy. Strawberries are also high in B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber.
Asparagus originates from a Greek word that means “sprout” or “shoot”. It is a member of the lily family, along with onions and garlic. There are white and green varieties. Washington’s mineral-rich volcanic soil, mountain-fed streams, warm days and cool nights result in the ideal growing situation for asparagus. Washington asparagus is produced on around 7,000 acres in the Columbia Basin, the Yakima Valley and the Walla Walla area. Asparagus can grow as much as one inch per hour, up to 12 inches in one day! Asparagus is a healthy option to include in any meal. It contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells and helps keep your immune system, skin, and hair healthy. Asparagus is also a source of folate, which helps in the formation of blood cells and prevents birth defects.
Bananas are the fourth most popular agricultural product in the world with more than 100 billion bananas eaten every year. Americans eat an average of 27 pounds of bananas per person every year. Bananas evolved from a plant in the Indo-Malaysian region that was seen as far back as the 6th century BC. Today most bananas are grown in tropical regions like South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The banana plant is actually not a tree; it’s the world’s largest perennial herb! It grows up to 25 feet, developing massive banana leaves that may extend 9 feet in the air. Bananas are technically berries and their roots can up be up to hundreds of years old. Bananas are an excellent source of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and other nutrients. Bananas contain Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, vitamin C and B6 which helps your body to produce healthy blood cells, regulate blood sugar levels and boost your body’s immune system.