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Eat More Fruits and Vegetables for Better Health

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables for Better Health

Making Fruits And Vegetables A Part Of Your Diet

The Power of Fruits And Vegetables

Simply put, every step and action you take to eat more fruits and veggies can help you protect and preserve your health.

To be sure, eating a variety of fruits and veggies can help reduce your risk for serious diseases like heart disease and cancer. It’s why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating more fruits and vegetables than any other food group. Read on to discover why you need to add more of these nutritional powerhouses into your diet. You may just be surprised by the amazing preventive power of fruits and vegetables.

Eating For Life… 8 Great Benefits of Fruits & Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are packed with a number of nutrients central to living a long and healthy life. And because of these nutrients, fruits and vegetables are central to improving health, preventing disease, and possibly even delaying the effects of aging. Below are only eight of the hundreds of ways fruits and vegetables are important to your health.

  • 1.Fresh, canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables are a healthy substitute for snack foods that are high in fat, calories, and salt.
  • 2.Eating fruits and vegetables reduces the risk for a number of serious cancers including lung cancer, ovarian cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach and bladder cancer.
  • 3.Eating fruits and vegetables helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  • 4.Fruits and vegetables may help prevent lung diseases, and actually help improve lung functioning.
  • 5.Fruits and vegetables protect against diabetes.
  • 6.The fiber and low caloric density of fruits and vegetables may help prevent obesity.
  • 7.The folic acid found in many fruits are known to help prevent birth defects like Spina Bifida.
  • 8.Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of protective nutrients such as vitamin C and folic acid.

Fruit & Veggie Fast Facts

There are literally stacks of studies confirming the health benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Studies have shown that…

  • Individuals who consume four to six servings of fruit and vegetables a day have a 40-60% lower risk of throat cancer compared to those who consume only 1-2 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Diets incorporating fruits and vegetables are an important first line of defense against high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
  • Men and women consuming nine to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a 20% lower risk of coronary artery disease compared with those consuming only two to three servings per day.
  • Consuming fruits and vegetables may be a useful strategy for weight loss.

Source: Produce for Better Health Foundation

Getting More Fruits & Veggies On Your Plate… In Three Easy Steps

Eating right isn’t always easy. Our lives are extremely busy, and sometimes just finding enough time to eat is difficult—let alone finding time to make sure our plate is filled with the right foods.

But have no fear. Below you’ll find three strategies that will help you eat great throughout the day, no matter where you are, what your budget is like, or how much time you have. Let’s take a look.

STEP #1: AIM TO FILL YOUR PLATE WITH FRUITS & VEGGIES

If you think about it, fruits and veggies are actually some of the fastest and simplest foods to cook and eat with. Below you’ll find some ideas on how to fit fruits and vegetables into your daily eating routine.

Breakfast

Breakfast is a great time to add fresh or frozen fruit to your meal. Slice a banana or some strawberries on top of your usual bowl of cereal. You may also want to drink some fruit juice. Reach for 100% real fruit juice and make sure you keep the serving small—six ounces is plenty.

Lunch

Add a variety of veggies to your normal sandwich. Tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and onions are all great and tasty options. Or, replace your greasy potato chips with carrots and hummus.

Dinner

Plain and simple, seasoned vegetables are delicious, and they complement whatever lean meat or protein you have prepared for dinner. Don’t have much time? Cooking up canned or frozen corn or green beans in the microwave is about as simple as it gets.

STEP #2: MAKE YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES WORK FOR YOU

Depending on what you buy and when, fresh fruits and veggies can be expensive. But they don’t have to be. Check out these tips for saving big:

Be A Bargain Hunter

When learning how to shop smart for fruits and vegetables, you’ll need to learn your prices. Once you have a good idea of what constitutes a good deal, you’ll be able to load up on your favorite items. Don’t forget, it helps tremendously if you can buy produce that’s in season and local.

Freeze!

Once you learn to recognize a bargain, chances are you’ll have too much produce to eat before it spoils. The solution? Just freeze it. There’s nothing wrong with freezing fruit. It keeps very well and, in some cases, can make fruit even easier to work with. Additionally, consider refrigerating bananas, the skins may darken, but they’ll last a few days longer.

Let It Grow

Looking for the ultimate money saving technique when it comes to eating more fruits and veggies? Grow a garden! Sure, there will be some expenses like seeds, water, and fertilizer, but the overall cost will be quite low. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of eating homegrown food. Eat healthy and start a new hobby all at once!

STEP #3: BE PREPARED

There’s no doubt that Americans are working harder, spending more time at work and also meeting busy home and social obligations. But this is no excuse to eat poorly—in fact, quite the opposite is true. The fact is that you can still eat healthy and still consume a variety of fruits and veggies no matter where you are or how busy you may be.

Eating Away from Home

The key to getting more fruits and veggies—even when you’re away from the house—is substituting. Just because your favorite restaurant has certain menu items, doesn’t mean you have to stick to them. Try substituting fresh fruit for fries, or vegetables in place of potato chips.

Eating In The Car

Americans are spending more and more time in their cars—either commuting to and from work, or racing around running errands. To eat healthier when you’re out and about, try keeping some dried fruit in your glove compartment, or bring something easy like cauliflower or grapes to snack on in between stops.

At Work

Most foods people consume at work come straight from the vending machine. And these foods, rather than being loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, are packed with extra calories and loads of fat. The following tips can help you eat healthier when you’re at the office.

  • Bring fresh fruit for everyone at your next staff meeting, instead of bagels or donuts.
  • Store dried fruits such as raisins in your desk. This way, there’s no reason to hit the vending machine.
  • Collect recipes for salads or other healthy dishes that are quick and easy to prepare.

Awesome Orange-Banana Smoothie

The following recipe is a delicious and healthy way to start your day!

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups 1% low fat lactose-free milk*

1 pint orange sherbet

2 ripe bananas, peeled, sliced

1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

12-14 ice cubes

*May substitute regular milk.

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender, combine milk, sherbet, banana, orange juice and honey. Add enough ice to measure 6 cups in the blender. Process until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Garnish with an orange slice and fresh mint if desired. Yields five, 8 ounce servings.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(per serving)

Calories: 207, % Calories from fat: 10

Fat (g): 2, Saturated fat (g): 1, Cholesterol (mg): 7, Sodium (mg): 71, Protein (g): 4, Carbohydrate (g): 45, Calcium (mg): 145

Source: National Dairy Council


For More Information

US Food and Drug Administration
www.fda.gov

US Department of Agriculture
www.usda.gov

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
www.eatright.org

A PUBLICATION OF


WELCOA (Wellness Council of America)

17002 Marcy Street, Suite 140
Omaha, NE 68118
Phone: (402) 827-3590

www.welcoa.org

©2014 Wellness Councils of America

The information contained in this brochure has been carefully reviewed for accuracy. It is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.