Best New Year’s Resolutions

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This year just do it – make a commitment to eat more fruits and veggies.  The evidence continues to mount on the numerous health benefits of produce.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently reported findings that higher fruit and vegetable intake reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and enhanced bone health.  Regular fruit and veggie eaters were also less likely to be obese, according to another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Among 7,356 adults – those who ate produce daily (4.5 cups) were less likely to be obese (BMI less than 30), even if their diets were higher in fat.1 That’s good news – you can keep you heart healthy, bones strong and waist line smaller by eating enough fruits and veggies.

Remember, vegetables are more than just French fries, corn and peas – as the Centers for Disease Control found that to be 40 percent of the vegetables on the average American’s plate.

New Year’s Reminders to Getting More Fruits and Veggies:
• Tape pictures of colorful fruits and vegetables to your bathroom mirror;
•     Add a new fruit and vegetable into your meal plan every day this week;
• Place a fruit bowl on your counter in arms reach;
•     Arrange vegetables and fruits front and center in the refrigerator; consider making the deli drawer into the fruit drawer;
• Keep a food log for only fruits and vegetables.  At the end of each day tally up your totals and marvel at your daily progress;
•     Order a green, orange or yellow vegetable in place of starch when dining out;
•     Liven up salads with red peppers, orange slices, yellow zucchini or red kidney beans;
• Add cut-up fruits to a morning smoothie;
•     Stir-fry green, yellow and red vegetables for a nutritious lunch or dinner;
• Keep a ‘produce’ notebook or shopping list with you to record new fruits and vegetables that your want to try.

1. Tuft’s Health & Nutriton Letter.  October 2006, Vol 24 (6) p. 2.
By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LD.

How much do you need?
Most people need about 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day. That is a total of 4.5 cups or about 1.5 cups per meal period. The federal dietary guidelines individualize produce recommendations based on age and daily activity level.  Figure out your own produce needs today.  Go to www.choosemyplate.gov and start the New Year off the right way!
Variety
Did you know that there are 5 categories of vegetables? They include:
1. Leafy Greens
2. Orange/Yellow
3. Dry beans and peas
4. Starchy vegetables
5. Other vegetables
Try to work on getting a variety of these vegetables each week. Start your shopping in the produce section and plan your meals around seasonal produce and bargains. For example, if you see a great deal on broccoli, buy a big bunch and use it to stuff baked potatoes or to put in a stir fry dish or salad.

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