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Health and Wellness

 

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? The Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that adults eat 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That seems like a lot! And research shows that most adults eat only 0 – 2 servings per day.

We all know that eating fruits and veggies can help us to feel healthier. But even for the most health-conscious eaters, getting more of these nutrients can be a challenge. So, here are 8 tips for adding more fruits and veggies to your daily diet. And keep in mind that ½ cup of a fruit or vegetable equals one serving.

  1. Choose a healthy snack: Instead of grabbing a bag of potato chips or a candy bar for a snack, try choosing something healthier such as carrots with hummus, celery sticks, and peanut butter, or a piece of fruit.
  2. Keep fruit in sight: You are more likely to eat fruit if it is easy to see. Place bananas and tangerines in a pretty bowl on the counter where you will see them on the way out the door. Have cherries and grapes rinsed and ready to grab from the refrigerator.
  3. Make soup – it’s easy!: Homemade soups are super easy to make and have lots of vegetables in one serving. Just saute carrots, onions, celery, green beans, and corn until tender. Then add a can of tomatoes and 3 cups of vegetable broth – viola! Homemade soup! Throw in a can of beans or some pasta for a heartier soup if you like.
  4. Think of the fruits/veggies!: Make sure every meal or snack you eat is paired with a fruit or veggie. This can be accomplished by add salsa to your eggs, avocado to your turkey sandwich, and fruit to your cereal.
  5. Double up: Two serving of veggies, please! The USDA recommends filling half your plate with fruits and veggies.
  6. Dessert!: A sweet snack after dinner can be a handful of frozen grapes or strawberries – especially delightful in the summertime!
  7. Make a smoothie: A smoothie can be a perfect breakfast, lunch or snack. Start with your favorite fruits, add some almond milk, and then throw in a handful of greens for an added nutritional boost. And if you add a banana or a small spoonful of peanut butter you won’t taste the greens!
  8. Share the cooking! It’s more fun to cook with a friend or Life Skills Coach and experiment with finding ways to add fruits and vegetables to your favorite dishes. Try adding a layer of spinach to the lasagna or a cup of sautéed diced carrots into the spaghetti sauce – you will be surprised how good it tastes!

Having health and wellness as a goal can help to make you more aware of your daily nutrient intake. Grocery shopping and planning meals with a friend, parent or life skills coach is a great way to achieve your goal of choosing to eat in a more health-conscious manner. Happy Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.