A couple months back I blogged about what to look for in the grocery store for Vegetables and Fruit. Today I’m going to talk a little more about this important food group.
From my last blog: “Vegetables and fruit may be the healthiest and most important foods we can eat. They provide us with many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Each color of vegetable and fruit provides different benefits, so choosing a variety is most healthful.”
Why is this food group so important? Research has shown that diets high in Vegetables and Fruit can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. This food group is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, folate and fibre. At a meal, Vegetables and Fruit should make up half our plates and should be included in snacks eaten through the day.
One food guide serving of Vegetables and Fruit is:
• 1 whole medium fruit
• 1/2 cup vegetables or fruit
• 1 cup salad or leafy vegetables
• 1/2 cup 100% juice
• 1/4 cup dried fruit
As far as what is recommended when it comes to this food group – choose at least one dark green (broccoli, chard, kale, romaine lettuce or spinach) and one orange (carrots, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes or yams) vegetable each day to help you get enough of the vitamin folate and vitamin A. Orange fruit such as apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, nectarines or peaches can be substituted for an orange vegetable.
Fresh is best! When it comes to choosing vegetables and fruit, buy fresh when it is available and affordable. Frozen, canned and dried vegetables and fruit that contain little or no added sugar, fat or salt can be healthy (and sometimes more affordable) choices. This produce is often picked and packed containing all of their nutrients, so they are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. When preparing your vegetables and fruit at home, avoid over-cooking them, as this will reduce their nutrients.
Here are some tips to include more vegetables and fruit into your day:
• Add a side of vegetables and fruit to meals and snacks
• Add fresh or frozen fruit to whole grain cereal or yogurt
• Add sliced avocado, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes or zucchini to sandwiches
• Add extra vegetables to soups, stews and sauces
• Use a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla
• Use fresh or frozen to make smoothies
However you decide to include vegetables and fruit into your day, just make sure you choose lots of these healthy foods, in a variety of colors.
In the next couple of weeks, I am going to tackle the specific food groups, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. If you have certain questions about any of these topics, please send them my way and I’ll include them in my blogs.
If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!