Research from John Hopkins recently concluded that most Americans were not getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet to get the right vitamins and minerals to achieve optimal health, prevent diseases and promote weight control. In response to the discovery, the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) and Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) have organized a campaign. Titled appropriately as “Fruits and Veggies- More Matters”, the campaign encourages consumers to add more produce to their diet on a daily basis. Significantly more.
How much is significantly more, many people are wondering. Conveniently, the CDC and other organizations involved with the Fruits and Veggies- More Matters Campaign have developed an online fruits and vegetables calculator. The calculator is designed to accurately tell you how many fruits and veggies you need to maintain optimal health, according to age, gender and level of physical activity. See how many fruits and veggies you need to start putting in your diet here: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/
Since eating more fruits and vegetables has been declared a national public issue of concern, many businesses and organizations in the food and health industries have jumped at this opportunity to promote their services and other relevant behaviors such as more produce purchases, flavorful recipes using fruits and veggies and other a variety of other fun, healthy ways to eat better.
Many people find it difficult and even boring sometimes to make eating more fruits and vegetables a primary concern. Fortunately, though, in light of the Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Campaign, there are some great ideas floating around to help make eating healthy a little bit more simple and fun. Here are a few of the better ones:
*Purchase fruits and veggies that are in season. This will not only allow you to get the produce at their best quality occasions, but this also means the items will very likely be on sale. The fruits and veggies in season during the Spring include the following:
*Add a variety of fruit to your morning breakfast or daytime snack by adding blueberries, strawberries, or bananas to your favorite cereal.
*Similarly, add strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, even blackberries or apples to add some healthy natural sweetness to waffles, pancakes, or French toast.
*Cut up a banana and dip it in peanut butter. Or, make a peanut butter and banana sandwich on multigrain bread.
*Do you have a juicer appliance or a food homogenizer? Some juicers, particularly the Champion 2000 and variations of that brand, have a very exciting best kept secret. If you follow the right procedure, you can make all natural, (but equally as tasty and sweet, if not more so) ice cream using no ingredients but fruit. Read about how to do it here, and note in advance that the article focuses on the Champion brand of juicers but the recipe may very well work with other similar juicing or homogenizing appliances: All Natural Homemade Ice Cream Recipe
*When cooking an omelet from scratch at home, or when ordering one at a restaurant, have it prepared with as many vegetables as you would find tasty. Spinach, onions, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms are very common ingredients to make unforgettably delicious omelet.
*Add peach halves, diced pears, strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, or any other fruit that you enjoy to the top of your bowl of ice cream. Pick one or two of these at a time and then interchange them with others the next time for some variety.
*Many people shy away from my offers to feed them my favorite healthy snack, frozen grapes, but I still maintain these people are seriously missing out. You can use grapes of any kind or color. Tie a bundle of them up in a zipped plastic bag so as to avoid freezer burn and throw them in the freezer for a few hours. I honestly have no idea why this is, but there really is something about the freezing process that makes grapes taste especially sweet and tasty. A frozen grape delight is a much different experience than the traditional, ordinary grape that most people know. Many people are extremely hesitant to try this bizarre treat and I suppose, in all fairness, it really is an acquired taste. But take my word for it. Any fruits and veggies for good health connoisseur would be depriving themselves of one of life’s finest simple pleasures if they don’t at least give this good for you dessert a chance.
*Have some packets of dried fruits (apricots, dates, apples) or raisins on hand for those times when you or your children feel like snacking. It may not take the place of a sugary alternative completely, but over time you may find you actually crave these fruit snacks instead of your usual candy, chips or whatever else you have become accustomed to eating in between meals.
*Allow yourself to try mixing some fruits, beans or nuts in with your salad greens if you haven’t already. Some people dislike the thought of mixing sweet foods with more neutral, basic ones like lettuce or vegetables, but less obtrusive items, like apples, raisins, walnuts, and in some cases mandarin oranges, actually seem to mix in with salads and other vegetable based concoctions quite well.
*Make a smoothie with fresh fruit of your choice.
*If you have the option, choose to eat a Portobello mushroom burger instead of a traditional hamburger.
*Consider purchasing a fruits and veggies juicer. These appliances are excellent ways to make the most out of your produce and there are tons of recipes available for delicious juice mixes. Have you ever wondered what cantaloupe juice was like? Pear? Pure apple or even celery and carrot? Juicing is a really great way to get your vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies in a quick easy, and delectable fashion. Also, juicing is quite an enjoyable activity and can be a fun way to entertain and impress guests. If you are thinking about investing in a juicer, I highly recommend the Champion brand. Here’s an overview on why this juicer is the best and what you can expect from it: Champion Juicer
There are many creative ways to implement more fruits and veggies in your daily diet. Whether you live alone or cook for a family, try some of these ideas or consider browsing a cookbook. Vegetarian cookbooks work well because they tend to focus on the most diverse and experimental combinations of vegetables, whereas meat based recipes often use vegetables as minor ingredients or optional side dishes. No matter which way you choose, do yourself and your family a favor and do something! Fruits and veggies are not only delicious once you really get a chance to experience them in full, but the consumption of them is also imperative for the future of your health and long life. Use the Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Campaign as a good excuse to take action now.