Fruits and vegetables are a key to fighting obesity, diabetes, and more
As public health issues such as obesity and diabetes are on the rise in our country, it’s a good time to look at our eating habits. September has been designated as Fruits and Veggies month, and the message is: More Matters! The “Fruits and Veggies—More Matters®” health initiative wants to promote all the great reasons why more fruits and vegetables will improve our health.
The key recommendation to remember is this: Half of your meal plate—whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner—should be devoted to fruits and vegetables. The other half should go towards proteins and grains. Balancing your plate in this way helps to avoid overindulging in fats and starches, and to focus on the great nutrients that fruits and vegetables give you.
Here are some key points to remember:
- Half your plate should be fruits and veggies
- Eat a rainbow of colors to get the best variety of vitamins
- All vegetables and fruits count, whether fresh, frozen or canned
What if I don’t like vegetables?
Are you someone who doesn’t like to eat vegetables? Do Brussels sprouts taste like dirt? Does broccoli make you gag? Does spinach remind you of eating a pile of leaves? If you don’t love vegetables, there are still some creative ways of preparing them that might trick you into liking them.
Try these 12 simple ways to make vegetables taste great:
- Dip baby carrots in a healthy yogurt dip
- Put peanut butter in the groove of a piece of celery
- Roast potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and onions with light olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Add a light cheese sauce to steamed vegetables
- Use a spiral vegetable slicer to make strands out of zucchini and eat it like spaghetti
- Sauté vegetables with light olive oil and herbs, like basil or oregano
- Cook potatoes, carrots, onions in a stew
- Grill peppers, onions, and tomatoes on a skewer on an outdoor grill
- Puree vegetables and add them to a soup or casserole
- Puree cooked cauliflower and add it to mashed potatoes
- Add tomatoes and lettuce to your favorite sandwich
- Add greens, tomatoes, and peppers to a smoothie
Many people like fruits more than vegetables, so they tend to be easier to add to your daily routine. With the wide variety of fruits available, it’s easy to find something you like! Some suggestions:
- Get fruits when they are in season so they are less expensive
- Compare prices with frozen fruit; sometimes frozen is less expensive
- Choose fruits instead of dessert
- Dried fruits like raisins count too!
- Apples last a long time; stock up on them so you always have an easy fruit on hand
- If your bananas get brown too fast, freeze them for use in a smoothie
- Ever try frozen grapes? They taste as good as ice cream!
With these simple tips, you can add vegetables and fruits to your daily routine. The more you eat them, the more you will come to enjoy them and look forward to them. And over time, you will see the benefits of choosing to eat a healthy diet.
The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH, wants to support our students in making healthy choices