Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet can improve your health
Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet? Many of us don’t, and as a result, our country is facing an increase in major health issues, such as obesity and diabetes. This September is Fruits and Veggies month, and it’s a great time to reflect on what we’re eating.
The Produce for Better Health Foundation is promoting an important health initiative called “Fruits and Veggies—More Matters.®” The initiative focuses on helping Americans increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables to improve our health.
The main recommendation is simple to remember: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables! Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, make sure half of your plate or bowl is devoted to fruits and vegetables. The other half should also be healthy items, like proteins and whole grains. If you achieve this balance, you will be less tempted to go for the unhealthy fats, starches, and sugars.
Remember these three important tips:
- Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits
- Eat fruits and vegetables with a range of different colors
- Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables all count!
But I hate vegetables!
Not everyone loves vegetables, and the truth is, it takes more time to wash and prepare a vegetable than it does to open a bag of chips. But there are some tricks to making vegetables taste better, as well as some easy-to-prepare remedies. Try these suggestions:
1. Buy pre-washed baby cut carrots and dip them in a healthy yogurt dip.
2. Buy pre-washed pre-cut celery, and spread peanut butter in the opening.
3. Toss baby potatoes, baby carrots, and thick-sliced onions with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them at 400 degrees until tender.
4. Buy pre-cut frozen broccoli or cauliflower and steam it in the microwave. Add a light cheese sauce if you don’t like it plain.
5. Use a spiral veggie slicer to turn your zucchini into spaghetti strands. Eat it like spaghetti with a red sauce.
6. Buy high quality olive oil for sautéing your vegetables. Add herbs like basil or oregano to enhance the flavor.
7. Add carrots, onions, and potatoes to a stew.
8. Put peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes on a skewer and grill them to perfection.
9. Puree cooked cauliflower and add it to mashed potatoes or a soup.
10. Add frozen chopped spinach to a casserole.
11. Add lettuce and tomato to your sandwiches.
12. Buy baby-sized sweet peppers. Just wash and eat, seeds and all!
How can I eat more fruits?
Fruits are sweeter than vegetables, so many people like them more. But it still can be hard to fit enough into your diet each day. Here are some practical tips for enjoying a diet that is rich in fruits!
- Fresh fruit can be expensive; try to buy what is in season, or purchase from a bulk store.
- Fruit is nature’s dessert! Try to choose fruit over unhealthy desserts.
- Dried fruit like raisins and prunes also count.
- Stock up on fruits that last a long time in your fridge, like apples and oranges.
- For brown bananas, freeze them and use them in a smoothie later.
- Bring a watermelon to your next summer barbecue instead of ice cream or cupcakes.
- Try freezing your grapes. It’s like a burst of sorbet in every bite!
With a little extra thought and planning, we can all add more fruits and vegetables to our everyday diets. Over time, we may even notice that we look and feel better because of it. So why not get started today?
The Salter School, with campuses in Fall River and Malden, Massachusetts, wants to support our students in making healthy decisions in life. Find out more about enrolling at our school by contacting us online.