August 2019 Issue

Culinary Corner: Fresh Summer Peaches
By Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 21, No. 8, P. 66

This nutrient-rich fruit takes center stage in a tasty breakfast or brunch dish.

Summer is quickly coming to a close and soon school buses will be picking up children for the first day of classes. Before school gets started and life gets busy, encourage clients to bring their kids into the kitchen and enjoy cooking together.

Although I don’t have kids of my own, I love teaching cooking classes for children and teens because I believe that time spent in the kitchen will translate into healthful habits that last a lifetime. A 2014 study involving 47 children aged 6 to 10 found that those who helped a parent prepare a meal ate significantly more salad and chicken than children eating the same meal prepared by their parent.1 Involving children in food preparation is an opportunity to teach them about nutrition, expose them to new healthful foods, and encourage increased intake of vegetables. In addition, cooking can be a platform for teaching math, literacy, science, and food safety.

We’re all in a hurry, so for many parents it can be easier to prepare meals alone without involving their children. As dietitians, we can educate clients on the potential benefits and encourage them to involve their kids in age-appropriate kitchen activities. It may take a little longer and be a little messier, but the benefits are worth the inconvenience. Children as young as age 2 to 5 can wash produce, wipe countertops, transfer ingredients from one location to another, tear lettuce, stir ingredients, shape or roll dough, brush oil onto vegetables or bread with a pastry brush, help measure ingredients, and crack eggs. Children aged 6 to 7 can help with more detailed work, such as peeling potatoes or carrots, rinsing and cutting lettuce leaves or fresh herbs with kitchen shears, and juicing citrus fruits.

This French toast recipe highlights nutrient-rich summer peaches. Sautéing the peaches with a touch of maple syrup and ground cinnamon enhances their natural sweetness, creating a flavorful topping. Children can assist with sautéing the peaches, assembling the French toast sandwiches and dipping them in the egg mixture, and plating the final product.

— Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN, is a dietitian and chef with a passion for teaching people to eat healthfully for a happy and delicious life. Ivey offers approachable healthful living tips, from fast recipes to meal prep guides and ways to enjoy exercise on her website,

1. van der Horst K, Ferrage A, Rytz A. Involving children in meal preparation. Effects on food intake. Appetite. 2014;79:18-24.

Ricotta-Stuffed French Toast With Fresh Peaches

Serves 4

2 tsp canola oil
1 lb ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
1 1/2 T maple syrup, divided
3/8 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
8 slices whole wheat bread
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
3 large eggs
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar and ground cinnamon, optional

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peaches and 1 T maple syrup. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until peaches are tender and lightly caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in 1/8 tsp cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl; cover and keep warm. Wipe skillet clean with a damp paper towel.

2. Stir together ricotta cheese and 1/2 T maple syrup in a small bowl. Arrange four slices of bread on a cutting board. Spread about 2 T ricotta mixture over each slice, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover with remaining bread slices, pressing gently around the edges to seal.

3. Whisk together milk, eggs, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and the nutmeg in a shallow bowl or pie plate.

4. Working in batches, dip each sandwich in egg mixture, coating both sides. Heat skillet over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray, and add two sandwiches. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve topped with peach mixture and a dusting of powdered sugar and ground cinnamon, if desired.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 310; Total fat: 9 g; Sat fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 80 mg; Sodium: 330 mg; Total carbohydrate: 43 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 17 g; Protein: 15 g