Zucca, Zucchini, Veggie Bambini!



Zelda Zucchini BambiniThe title of this post is a bit of a misnomer. (See #10 below.) Your kids will enjoy learning these fun facts about zucchini and trying them out on their favorite grownup:

1. The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69-1/2 inches long and weighed 65 pounds! It probably didn’t taste that great–if anyone even tried to eat it–because…

2. When it comes to zucchinis, biggest is not best. The most flavorful zucchinis are small- to medium-sized.

3. Zucchini shares the same ancestors as pumpkins and other squash. They were taken to Spain from South America in the 16th century and were grown in Italy 300 years ago.

4. The word zucchini comes from “zucca,” the Italian word for squash. The Italians introduced zucchini to North America in the 1920’s.

5. Zucchini is a great diet food–it’s 95% water! One small zucchini has just 25 calories (compared to a baked potato, for example, which has 130 calories). You can eat it raw or cooked.

6. The flower of the zucchini plant is edible, too. Not sure how many calories fried squash blossoms have, but they are considered a delicacy.

7. The nutrients and vitamins found in zucchini, including potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, can help prevent cancer and heart disease. The darker the skin, the richer in nutrients.

8. April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day. (Have you ever tried zucchini bread? It’s delicious!)

9. National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day is celebrated on August 8th. It probably got started because one zucchini plant produces so much fruit people couldn’t use it all–and neither could their neighbors!

10. Oh, yeah–zucchini is one of those things, like tomatoes, that’s really a fruit but that most people think of as a vegetable. Here’s the scoop: Botanically speaking, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. Like a zucchini. Vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems. But if a botanical fruit is savory–like a zucchini–rather than sweet, most cooks consider it a vegetable. Which side of the fence do you stand on?


If your kids have fun taking (or making) quizzes, these fun facts can be easily adapted to form true-false, fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice questions. Kids love to take on the role of teacher. Let your child design a quiz and put his favorite grownup in the spotlight!

Yours factually,

Barbara Jean the Story Queen

Healthy Food

Information adapted from food channel.com, freshforkids.com.aulive science.com, fillyourplate.org, and mobile-cuisine.com. Zelda Zucchini Bambini photo used with permission via creativecommons.orgCourtney Gibbons, flickr.com. Public domain zucchini photo acquired via pixabay through creativecommons.org.



First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.

What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things. 

I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!

On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)

My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!

I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.

Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.


Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”

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To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website.  To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at barbarajeanhicks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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