Tag Archives: eat more fruits and vegetables

8 Myths and Facts About Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits-and-VegetablesWe all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. However, you’ve probably heard some things about fruits and veggies that are touted as facts but aren’t necessarily entirely true. Many rumors were started when low-carb diets became the latest trend. The natural “sugar” in fruit and the starch in potatoes also got a bad rap.

Here are some of the common myths about fruits and vegetables, as well as the facts you should know:

Myth 1: Fresh is best
Many people believe that only fresh fruits and vegetables count toward your daily intake. In fact, all fresh, dried, and frozen fruits and veggies can be used to make up your daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. All forms are full of essential nutrients. The most important thing is that you eat them!

Myth 2: Juice is bad
Consuming 100% juice is nutritious for you and an easy way to add fruits and veggies to your healthy diet. However, drinking all your fruits and veggies doesn’t cut it. You should mix in other sources fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Myth 3: Organic is more nutritious
In fact, there is no proof that organic fruits and vegetables are more nutritious for you than traditionally harvested fruits and vegetables. If you are concerned about consuming pesticides, the risk associated with consuming them is far less than the risk of not eating enough fruits and veggies.

Myth 4: Potatoes are fattening
When potatoes are dripping with butter, bacon and high-fat cheese or deep-fried, then they are full of calories, fat and cholesterol. A plain medium potato can actually help with weight loss. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, B6 and fiber. And, potatoes have more potassium  than bananas.

Myth 5: Colorful fruits and veggies are better
In general this is a good rule to follow, but white foods have appealing nutritional values, too. Cauliflower is full of antioxidants, vitamin C and folate. Mushrooms and cabbage also provide many vitamins and minerals.

Myth 6: Vegetarian diets are lacking
Research has shown that vegetarian diets and lifestyles can lead to maintaining optimal health and having a longer life expectancy. The key to a healthy diet is providing your body with a balanced amount of nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Myth 7: Sugar in fruits is bad
Fruits do contain sugar, but this is different than the added sugar in many of our processed foods. Added sugar lacks the multiple health benefits of fruits, such as phenols, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Myth 8: Fruits and veggies are expensive
Even on a budget, you can include fruits and vegetables in your regular diet. You may even find that buying fruits and veggies is less expensive that some of the more processed foods that come in boxes and packages.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, what matters most is MORE. Americans overall are not eating enough fruits and veggies, and studies are showing they have an even greater role in human health than we once believed. Enjoy your fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow every day!

13 ways to make fruits and vegetables half your plate

Choosemyplate.gov fruits and vegetablesWhen I first heard that you should fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, I thought that would be difficult. But, it’s easier than you may think.

Choosemyplate.gov encourages you to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. That’s because you need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and veggies are low in calories and fat, and they give you the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for a healthy diet.

You should be eating two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day.

Here are 13 ways you can mix more fruits and veggies into your daily diet:

Wake up with fruit
Get in the habit of putting fruit on your bowl of cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes. Eat a banana, orange or grapefruit with your breakfast.

Make an omelet
You can load up your omelet with veggies. Add tomatoes, onions, and red or green bell peppers. You can even mix it up and put in squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli and more.

Keep cut vegetables handy
Keeping cut up vegetables on hand will encourage you to eat them instead of grabbing a prepackaged snack. I have found that if I cut up vegetables as soon as I get home from the grocery store, I am much more likely to eat them. Some easy to eat veggies include carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, red and green peppers, celery, cucumbers and radishes. I like to make a baggie with a variety of veggies to snack on. You can also add them to your lunch or munch on them while you prepare dinner.

Have a veggie wrap
Roll up a whole-wheat tortilla packed with vegetables and low-fat cheese. If you still want a little bit of meat, add some grilled chicken or cubed ham.

Make a sandwich
Load up your sandwich with lettuce, peppers, onions, cucumbers, pickles, olives, tomatoes and more. Go easy on the condiments to keep your sandwich healthy.

Eat pizza
Load your pizza up with vegetables. You can pile on the tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli and zucchini.

Fire up the grill
Another great way to get your fruits and veggies is from the grill. Make fruit kabobs out of peaches, apples, bananas, pineapple and more. Create vegetables kabobs with red potatoes, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini and mushrooms. Remember to grill your food safely.

Add color to salads
Start out your salad with dark leafy greens. Add in other colorful vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, carrots, peas and olives. Or, make it fruit toppings by adding blueberries, orange slices, chunks of apples, dried cranberries or raisins.

Shred or grate veggies
You can add shredded, grated or chopped vegetables to all sorts of dishes. Top rice, pasta, meat loaf, lasagna or potatoes with carrots, zucchini or spinach.

Make fruit dessert
Use fruit as your dessert. Mix together any of your favorite fruits: grapes, apples, kiwi, blueberries, watermelon, orange slices, dried cranberries, bananas and more. Or, add fruit to low-fat frozen yogurt.

Eat soup
Make homemade vegetable soup or warm up a can of soup for lunch. Add a veggie-loaded sandwich to get in plenty of vegetables.

Stock the freezer
Load up your freezer with fruits and vegetables. You can buy bags of frozen strawberries and blueberries to have as a snack, add to yogurt or make a smoothie. You can also buy all sorts of veggies in the freezer section, including corn, broccoli, spinach, peas, cauliflower, carrots, green beans and more. You can even get mixed vegetables.

Put out a fruit bowl
Keep fruit out on the counter where it’s easy to grab on the go. Mix it up with apples, bananas, oranges, tangerines and pears.

Now you have some quick and easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. All forms count: fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100% juice. Just remember the more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you will get all the nutrients you need!

Do you have tips for eating more fruits and vegetables? What are your favorite quick snacks?