Tag Archives: fruits

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!

12 healthy snacks on the go

Healthy snack dried fruit and nutsMy kids are out of school, softball and baseball games have started, and summer is on its way. I find myself running from one activity to another, and we need to find something to eat.

It can be hard to pick up healthy snacks to eat on the go. You may be tempted to grab chips, cookies, candy bars or soda. Prepackaged snacks are often loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.

With a little planning, you can pack nutritious, portable snacks for you or your kids to eat as you rush from place to place.

Here are 12 quick and healthy snacks you can take with you on the go:

Trail mix
You can make your own trail mix by combining nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews) with no-sugar added dried fruit. I also add sunflower seeds when I make it. My kids like to have pretzels in their trail mix. You can also buy prepackaged trail mix, but try to avoid those with candy.

Speaking of pretzels, just take a bag of pretzels with you to snack on while you’re in the car. They have a low mess factor, and they’re easy to eat while you drive. You can also mix pretzels with dry whole-grain cereal to make your own snack mix.

All nuts are about equal in terms of calories per ounce, and in moderation, are all healthy additions to any diet. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. They will help you feel full and suppress your appetite. Go with raw or dry roasted nuts for the most benefits. So, snack on some almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans or Brazil nuts.

Apples and peanut butter
You can take apples with you on the go. I cut mine up in slices and put them in a baggie. If you are going to eat them within a few hours, they still stay fresh. You can buy single servings of peanut butter to easily carry with you. You can even switch it up and have celery or rice cakes with your peanut butter.

Pop a bag of popcorn (without butter or salt) and put it in a plastic baggie to take with you. You can even add other things in with it like pretzels or nuts.

Carrot sticks and Laughing Cow Cheese
If you’re going to eat it within 4 hours, you can take carrots and a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese with you. You get some veggies and a little bit of dairy. If it will be longer than 4 hours, you may want to take an insulated cooler and ice pack.

Whole-grain cereal with sunflower seeds
Put 2 parts cereal and 1 part seeds in a baggie to take with you. You can also store it in your purse, desk drawer or vehicle for several weeks to snack on as needed.

Yogurt and fruit/granola
Grab a cup of Greek yogurt and some fresh fruit or granola to flavor it up a bit. If you aren’t going to eat it fairly quickly, you may want to pack the yogurt in a cooler with an ice pack.

Raw veggies
With a little planning, you can pre-cut vegetables to take with you. Carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and celery all make great portable vegetables.

Whole fruit
You can easily take apples, oranges, pears, bananas and grapes with you. If you find some of the fruits are easier to eat when they are cut up, put them in a baggie or container to take along with you.

Wheat Thins and string cheese
Wheat Thins give you fiber and whole-grain carbs. String cheese is high in calcium and protein yet lower in fat than most other cheeses. Plus, it comes in a handy package that you can grab in a rush. You can also eat cheese with fruit and raw veggies.

Hard-boiled egg
You can make hard-boiled eggs ahead of time for an easy snack on the go. Hard-boiled eggs contain protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, lutein and other great nutrients.

By taking along a few healthy snacks when you’re on the go, you can stave off hunger and keep your metabolism and energy levels steady all day long. Do you have your own favorite healthy snacks?