Fruits and Veggies— More Matters!
Did you know September is Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month? Despite the fact that fruits and vegetables have many vital nutrients and minerals, people aren’t eating enough of them, which means they’re missing important health benefits. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the majority of Americans don’t get enough calcium, dietary fiber, potassium, or vitamin D. These vital nutrients are found in fruits and vegetables, which is why the month of September is devoted to shining a spotlight on the importance of eating more fresh fruits and veggies.
Why You Should Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
As mentioned before, fruits and vegetables have many health benefits. Not only do they give our bodies the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed to stay strong and active, they also make it easier to manage your weight. By eating plenty of produce, you also set a good example for your kids, motivating them to eat well so they can remain strong and healthy. Fruits and vegetables can also help you lower your health risks for certain diseases, like the following:
- Heart Disease
- Various Cancers
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on the Go
Many of us live busy lives feel like we’re always on the go. Because of this, it can be difficult to make healthy food choices. However, there are easy ways to make sure you’re making the best choices possible for your health and the health of your family. For starters, choose fresh foods when you can. Not only are they loaded with nutrients, you’ll avoid the added sodium, sugar, and preservatives found in canned and frozen foods.
Another way to eat healthier on the go is to prepare food in advance. Take the time to invest in your health by making well-balanced lunches and snacks the night before so you’ll be less tempted to make a trip through the drive-through on your lunch break. You can also get an early start on getting your daily dose of fruits and veggies by making breakfast smoothies for your morning commute that are packed with nutritious and filling fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, bananas, avocados, apples, and berries. The following smoothie recipes from Real Simple and Tales of a Kitchen combine the benefits of both fruits and veggies, as well as other nutritious and filling ingredients to get your day started right.
Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana
1½ cups chopped pineapple (about ¼ medium pineapple)
1 ripe banana, chopped
2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach
½ cup coconut milk
Prepare the smoothie by combining the pineapple, banana, kale or spinach, and coconut in a blender. Add water until your desired consistency is achieved.
Super Green Super Vibrant Cucumber Apple and Ginger Smoothie
1 cored apple
1 small, peeled cucumber
Handful of spinach
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
1 TBSP minced ginger
1 cup water
1 TBSP honey/agave/maple syrup
Optional: raw bee pollen
Prepare the smoothie by first peeling the cucumber. Next, combine the apple, cucumber, spinach, lime juice, ginger, water, and honey in a blender until your desired consistency is achieved. Sprinkle bee pollen on top and serve.
How You Can Make a Difference
As nurses, there is a lot you can do to make a difference, including encourages adults and children alike to add more fruits and vegetables to their diets. When businesses, health professionals, community leaders, and families work together, they can spread healthy eating tips and educate more people about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Some ways to get involved include:
- Encourage family members, patients, and friends to buy and eat more fresh fruit and vegetables in their meals and snacks
- Encourage stores, businesses, and restaurants to provide fresh, local foods
- Educate the public about programs focused on supporting local agriculture
Does your office participate in Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month? What are some healthy eating tips that you give to your patients?
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