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Staying Healthy: Find Power With Produce

Find power with produce

(Photo: ~Courtesy of Renee Pieroth)

Enjoy the remainder of summer and spend time outdoors. Keep enjoying local, seasonal produce as you continue to find ways to fuel your body with plant-based meals.

Try to eat at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Consider enhancing the amount and the variety of fruits and vegetables you eat on a daily and weekly basis.

Some benefits to consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables:

  • Rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
  • Source of fiber.
  • Low in calories despite being packed with nutrients.
  • May help weight management, heart health, blood sugar control and digestive function.
  • Consuming a balanced meal plan that includes a focus on fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of chronic diseases including certain types of cancer.

Tips to increase your produce:

  • Start with produce you know you enjoy, and try to eat them as a part of your daily meal plan.
  • When you add a new food to your routine, give it a few tries. To explore different textures and tastes, prepare the new food in multiple ways such as cooked, raw, pairing with other foods or adding herbs or spices.
  • Create a colorful plate and eat the colors of the rainbow to consume a variety of nutrients.
  • Think about animal protein as a side dish with vegetables as the main entrée. Then, try a meatless day once a week.
  • Involve children in the process for produce shopping and preparing meals to help the family enjoy produce too.
  • Start your morning with a fiber-rich breakfast such as oats with fruit and nuts or add vegetables to your omelet.
  • Vegetables are categorized as dark-green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables. Therefore, eat an assortment from each category.
  • Aim to have a fruit or a vegetable at each meal and snack.
  • When craving sweets or need a boost of energy, grab a piece of fruit paired with a protein such as nuts, cheese or yogurt.
  • For a crunch, grab an apple or raw vegetables rather than reaching for chips or crackers.

Eating produce on a budget:

  • Eat locally and in season to help cut the cost of produce.
  • Purchase canned or frozen produce to help reduce food waste while maintaining nutrient density.
  • Plan meals for the week. Try to use the same ingredients but prepared in different ways.
  • Cook a large amount to have leftovers for the next meal or freeze for later.
  • Substitute plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils and peas for meats.
  • Eat at home and limit purchasing processed foods.

Budget for your long-term health. Explore ways to enjoy eating colorful produce throughout your day. Shop in season from local providers or start to grow your own garden. Involve family, friends and coworkers to share the fun of preparing and eating nutritious meals and snacks.

Story Credit: http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/health/2017/08/07/staying-healthy-find-power-produce/542585001/