Versatile rice and beans make great side dishes.
Children should have access to healthy food and be able to make healthy food
choices wherever they are – at home, in school, and in the community. Improving the
health of the nation’s children and reversing the childhood obesity epidemic is a shared
responsibility and will take the commitment of parents, the foodservice industry, the media, and schools working
together. The vision of USDA’s School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI) is to improve the health of school
children through better nutrition. Implementing the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans in school meals will have important health benefits for children.
Increase the amounts and variety of fruits and vegetables offered because fruits and vegetables differ in nutrient content.
Offer a dark green or deep orange vegetable three to four times a week.
Plan a vitamin C-rich vegetable or fruit daily.
Increase fresh and frozen vegetables as much as possible (canned vegetables are higher in sodium).
Try using herbs, spices, and lemon in the place of salt.
Offer more cooked dried beans and peas. Explore the great variety available.
Culinary Techniques for Preparing Dry Beans
Wash beans thoroughly in a colander to remove all traces of dirt.
Discard any damaged beans or debris. All dry beans must be soaked in water to soften the bean and remove substances in the beans that affect flavor and cause flatulence.
Quick Hot Soak: Cover beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil 2
minutes. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and soak for one hour.
Overnight Cold Soak: Add 1 3⁄ 4 quart cold water to every 1 pound of dry
beans. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Discard the soaking water that contains flatulence-producing sugars, and cover the beans with fresh water before cooking.
Bring soaked beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Properly stored and soaked beans will be tender and ready to use after simmering for 45 to 60 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the cooking water for each pound of beans to avoid foaming.
Add acidic foods, such as tomatoes, to the beans after they are tender because acids tend to toughen the skin.
Avoid overcooking which reduces nutrients, results in poor texture, color, and flavor.
Dry beans will expand 2 1⁄ 2 to 3 times their original size after cooking.
One cup of dried beans will yield 2 to 3 cups of cooked beans.
One pound of dried beans measures 2 cups.
Rice: Brown and White
Brown rice is a 100% whole grain food and is milled to retain the rice bran layer.
Whole grains are a good source of vitamins and fiber.
White rice is milled to remove the bran layer for a milder taste and texture. Try half white and half brown rice mixed
Culinary Techniques for Preparing Rice
Measure or weigh the amount of rice to be cooked. Put rice into a 12x20x2 inch pan.
Add hot liquid to the rice. Seasoned liquid (stock or juice) add more flavor than plain water.
Enhance the rice with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, herbs, spices, and other seasonings.
Cover pans tightly and steam or bake. White rice cooks in about 25 to 30 minutes. Brown rice cooks in about 40 to 50 minutes