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!
Did you know that there are 5 categories of vegetables? They include:
1. Leafy Greens
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.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.