How many veggies can you get into an adventurous rice side dish? Well, as many as you like.

Choose veggies with color as well as those you just simply enjoy. That would be corn for me, and fresh mushrooms are always a favorite.

Cooked carrots, while not a personal favorite, are nutritious and colorful, so I try to add them whenever possible.

It’s a great way to introduce vegetables to children in a fun way.

How many colors can you find on the dinner table? If vegetables could talk, what might they say? Imagination and food don’t have to be estranged from each other. Now that summer is here, take an educational walk with the youngsters through the produce aisle. Let the children do some planning and research into the various available fruits and veggies. Plan age-appropriate cooking times. Plant a small garden. Teach them about growing and the use of herbs.

For those of my friends who are grandmothers, it’s a great field trip for those special days and a great way to bond while watching foods come to life. Then plan an adventurous dish with all the colors of the rainbow.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at