We asked Shane Henderson, Executive Chef for Ben E. Keith Foods, to share his special month-by-month guide to introducing new nutrient-rich veggies into kids’ diets (you know, those finicky little ones who’ll avoid anything that’s actually good for them?).

Shane knows all about trying to please his own picky eater, his 6-year-old daughter Chloe, and has crafted a calendar complete with kid-friendly recipes to help parents win more mealtime battles.

Check back with FITArkansas.com for Shane’s monthly installments!



Butternut squash

Behind the recipe:

“I decided I would do a pappardelle butternut squash ‘alfredo’ tossed with pine nuts, fresh herbs, brown butter and perhaps even top it with a nice grilled or roasted chicken. Done and done. Then, I got home and my daughter Chloe asked me what was for dinner. ‘Blech,’ she wasn’t amused. I begged. I pleaded. I offered deals involving ice cream, staying up late, cookies—anything to get her to like my idea. Funny thing about a 6-year-old, once they dig their feet in, you’re sunk.

She smelled the butternut squash, ‘Can’t you just make it into bread like you do that green squash I don’t like?’ This child is clearly a genius.”

The Verdict

A handwritten note written atop Shane’s new recipe: “I LOVE YOU DAD.”

The Recipe:

Butternut Squash Breakfast Bread

“To get Chloe to eat them, we generally call them Butternut Cupcakes,” Shane says.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup bread flour-King Arthur
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Barely a pinch of ground clove

Mix these ingredients together well, then set aside. For even better results, sift and set aside.

Wet Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

• Using a Kitchen Aid mixer or similar, mix these ingredients together on low for five minutes. After five minutes, scrap down bowl and add in...

1 cup coconut oil
2 cups shredded butternut squash

(Do not pack the squash; don’t be too rough with it either. We need the juice it is holding in the recipe.)

• Mix this for another five minutes. Then, slowly add in the dry ingredients you set aside—the slower the better.

“I like to cool the mix at this point before cooking it, and I feel as though refrigerating this overnight before cooking helps the flavors to meld.”

• When ready to cook, have an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Scoop batter to the rim of a well-greased muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

A Year's Worth of Recipes

Make a note of these healthy meals planned for the rest of 2016 at FITArkansas.com!

January Butternut squash
February Brussel sprouts
March Artichokes
April Mushrooms
May Cauliflower
June Figs
July Okra
August Tomatoes
September Shelled Beans
October Beets
November Sweet potatoes
December Kale