A Month’s Supply of Fruit and Veggie Ideas

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Barb Menia, RD, Preventive Services, Providence Everett Medical Center, is working on a wonderful program to get employees to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.

She picks a color of the week to highlight fruits and vegetables that are a certain color and to encourage people to eat a greater variety of produce. Here are some tips and ideas for you to do the same thing:

• Create handouts and recipes that feature fruit/veggies of a particular color-emphasis and print them on the color of the week paper. Be careful not to use paper that is too dark because that makes the text hard to read.

• Dress up bulletin boards in your color of the week. Use pictures of produce from magazines, empty packages and paper plates to create a fun display.

• Conduct a recipe contest with the color of the week. Give participants a list of fruit and vegetable ideas for a color and encourage them to come up with healthy recipes or serving ideas.

• Have the cafeteria create dishes using fruits and vegetables from the weekly color theme. An easy idea would be to offer a simple fruit or vegetable display. See the list of colors for ideas.

• Encourage people to wear the color of the week on Friday.

Here is a list of fruits and vegetables by color:

• Purple/blue: plums, grapes, purple cabbage, eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, purple kale, figs, purple carrots, blue potatoes, black raspberries, marion berries, boysenberries

• Red: apples, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, red onions, rhubarb, pears, grapes, beets, red bell peppers, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, watermelon, radishes, cherry tomatoes

• Green: apples, pears, kale, lettuce, collard greens, spinach, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, green onions, fresh herbs, cabbage, kiwi, artichoke, Brussels, celery, chard, cucumber, green grapes, honeydew, leeks, lettuce, limes, mustard greens, okra, green onion, parsley, peas, watercress, green bell pepper, jalapeno or other chili pepper,

• Orange: carrots, winter squash, oranges, cantaloupe, nectarines, papaya, peaches, apricots, tangerines, yams

• Yellow/white: Lemons, grapefruit, onions, bananas, yellow apples, yellow bell peppers, cauliflower, corn, garlic, yellow grapefruit, mangoes, parsnips, pears, pineapple, squash, star fruit, yellow tomatoes, turnips, potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes

Here are more ideas from Barb to help you motivate participants:

• Use fruit and vegetable lingo in flyers; finish them with fun messages:

- Bounty of nutrients

- Con-SEED that you can do it!

- Cultivate the habit of ___

- Fruit fairy

- Fruit-a-plenty

- Go bananas for fruit

- Have a colorful day

- How are you peeling....

- How to BEET the odds of heart disease and cancer?

- I heard it through the grapevine

- Let-tuce be consistent

- Let-tuce Sit at the Vege-table.

- Live fruitfully

- Make your mom proud!

- Peas of mind, peas of heart

- Phyto power

- Phyto-filled foods

- Plant a seed for success

- Power-packed produce.

- Push the produce

- Put produce front and center

- Rooting for...

- Spill the beans on...

- Thanks a bunch

- The BEET goes on....

- Turn over a new leaf

- Turnip the volume on fruits and vegetables

- Veg On!

- Veggies and fruit are Soooo Apeelin’ to your body!

- Your efforts have come to Fruition!

• Keep track of fruits and vegetables in color schemes - purple, yellow/white, red, orange, green - if they get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables/day for 30-40 days they get chances in a drawing for a fruit basket or cookbook that features fruit/veggies. Emphasize that they do not have to be perfect and hit 5/day every day but on most days. For participating they get a $5 gift certificate for a local produce stand or a certificate for a free serving of fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. Barb has fun categories like Top Banana, Berry Nice and Hot Tomato that she puts people in according to how many fruits and vegetables they eat. She usually buys more than one fruit basket depending on how many participants they have in the program. She takes their picture with the basket and puts it on their intranet site and in the employee newsletter. People are motivated by glory in addition to prizes!

• Eat from the rainbow – draw an outline of a rainbow, making 5 color stripes and label each stripe with fruit and vegetable colors: green, blue/purple, red, orange, white/yellow. See how many fruits and vegetables they can fill into each stripe. This helps participants see if they are getting a variety of colors and where they need to improve for fruit and vegetable consumption.

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