Sheboygan Area School District has teamed up with Nourish to bring “Harvest of the Month” to students and the community. Each month, a piece of produce is chosen to be a featured item on the school lunch menu as well as in snacks in certain schools in Sheboygan County. The goal is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in students and build a solid relationship with our local farmers. Ultimately, the program seeks to help students develop healthier eating habits.
For December, our Harvest of the Month featured item is garlic. Although most think of garlic as an herb or spice, it grows underground as a bulb and is considered a vegetable. Garlic belongs to the allium family of vegetables. In this category are onions, chives, scallions, and leeks, other vegetables known for their strong scent. Garlic is an excellent source of manganese and Vitamin B6, as well as a great source of Vitamin C and copper. Garlic can be purchased as a powder or paste, as well as whole or in minced pieces. When purchasing fresh garlic, make sure the skin is unbroken, and it is firm when squeezed. Avoid garlic that is soft, shriveled, or moldy.
The use of garlic dates back thousands of years from use in cuisine or warding off vampires to repelling mosquitoes or fighting colds. Studies show garlic and garlic compounds can help reduce the risk of blood clots, boost immune function, reduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular health.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants which protect our cells from chemical damage. If you would like additional information on the Harvest of the Month program, including recipes, fact sheets and educational activity ideas, visit the Sheboygan Area School District School Nutrition website at http://www.sheboygan .k12.wi.us/families/harvest.cfm. For more information, call (920) 459-3031.
Amy Benz is a dietetic student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and an intern in School Nutrition at the Sheboygan Area School District.