Ankeny, Iowa, April 19, 2012— Today’s consumers are increasingly interested in broadening their culinary experience with more global ingredients and healthful choices. That goes for school kids, too, who are acquiring more educated palates thanks to school food service programs. Beginning April 24, students in grades K-12 in the Ankeny Community School District will be introduced to Edamame (fresh green soybeans) as a vegetable choice on their school menus. Edamame, steamed in the pod or shelled, are a traditional Japanese snack. The recipe that will be offered to students in the Ankeny Schools is Edamame Succotash, a colorful side dish featuring corn and bell peppers.
As part of its ongoing program to promote nutrition and wellness to students, the Food Service Department of the Ankeny Community School District provides a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Edamame is high in protein, offering all nine of the essential amino acids to make it a complete protein. It’s also a good source of calcium, vitamin A and iron. Best of all, though, mild-flavored edamame adds a sweet, nutty flavor to dishes such as Edamame Succotash.
Lynn Swinger, RD, LD, Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator at Ankeny Community Schools, explains the nutrition initiative. “We want to continually increase the options for variety of vegetables we serve to Ankeny students. We hope to work it into our menu cycle so that kids constantly have more variety in their diets. We are committed to serving it for a few cycles because it takes kids a few times to try something to decide if they like it or not.”
She explains that educating students about new foods increases the likelihood that they will accept those foods. “I have been promoting edamame to students in the classroom and they are excited about trying it. Many of our students are already familiar with edamame and others are very excited to try something new.” As part of her job, Lynn Swinger works to integrate nutrition and physical fitness into the classroom through the current curriculum as well as additional opportunities.
For edamame nutrition information and kid-friendly recipe ideas, visit the Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.
About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.
About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries. In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.