Today’s post is written by supermarket dietitian Karen Buch, MS, RD, who leads the Weis Lifestyle Initiatives team for Weis Markets. In her role, she is responsible for consumer advocacy and strategic planning for Weis Markets’ growing health and wellness initiatives. Karen also serves as the editor-in-chief of Weis Healthy Bites™ magazine and serves as an ENC Health Professional Advisor.
September is National Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month. The average American eats less than 2 cups of fruits and vegetables, compared to the 4 to 5 cups recommended each day. Research shows that only 6% to 8% of Americans are eating enough. What are some of the top reasons to encourage clients and yourself to eat more fruits and veggies?
1. REDUCE DISEASE RISK A large body of scientific evidence supports eating a plant-based diet for better health. Increased fruit and vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
2. COLOR & TASTE Fruits and vegetables naturally add color to your plate. In addition to great taste, food’s eye appeal is one of the top factors that influence whether or not a food is selected and eaten. Fruits and vegetables are colorful, delicious and nutritious.
3. FIBER, VITAMINS & MINERALS Plant foods supply natural sources of fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for energy balance and overall health.
4. VARIETY There are literally hundreds of varieties of produce available every day in a traditional supermarket. Even with this abundance of choices, many produce possibilities go unexplored. Trying a new variety of fruit or vegetable can really liven-up home prepared meals and snacks.
5. CONVENIENCE In today’s fast-paced world, families are looking for foods that offer convenience. Many fruits and vegetables are naturally pre-portioned, portable and ready to eat at meals or snacks. This is especially true when you factor all available forms including dried, frozen, canned, 100% juice and fresh-cut produce.
With all of these benefits, it’s important to note that no single food provides everything a person needs to be healthy. A balanced plate includes a combination of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthful fats, and protein sources such as eggs, beans, seafood, dairy foods and lean meats and poultry. Recent research highlights the potential health benefits of eating a diet with a higher ratio of protein.
What are your favorite foods combos with fruits and veggies for balanced nutrition?
For ideas and recipes to help you eat more fruits and vegetables, check out www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org and browse through hundreds of egg recipes at http://www.incredibleegg.org/recipes