July 22, 2015 --
The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center recognizes July as fruit and vegetables month.
Consuming the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables daily helps decrease the risk of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
Below are common questions and answers that can help individuals introduce more fruits and vegetables into daily meals.
Question: How does one include more fruits and vegetables in main meals?
Answer: Focus your plate on using a variety of fruits and vegetables. Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup, and then add other foods to complement it.
Add fruit to salads, breakfast cereals and plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt. It adds color and makes meals more flavorful.
Choosing new fruits or vegetables can also introduce someone to new tastes as well as experimenting with new recipes or adding to favorite recipes.
Question: How can a person buy fruits and vegetables on a budget?
Answer: Try buying what’s in season; it can be tastier, easier to get and usually less expensive (keep a list on your refrigerator of what’s in season). Consider visiting farmers’ markets, especially near closing time, for bargains. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables can also be great cost-effective options, and as a bonus, they are often pre-washed and already prepared.
Even though non-frozen, pre-cut and ready-to-eat produce is convenient, it’s usually more expensive.
Question: How can an individual incorporate fruits and vegetables as on-the-go snacks?
Answer: Plan ahead by stocking your pantry, desk or refrigerator with items that can easily be taken on-the-go. Some great options include dried fruit, whole fruits, pre-packaged salads and pre-cut fruits and vegetables with dip. (Tip: For a quick, non-fat dip, try non-fat Greek yogurt with one packet of dry ranch dressing mix.)
Blending smoothies with fruit can also be a fresh and filling drink to take while on your way out for the day.
To learn more about nutrition, call Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany’s Health Promotions at 229-639-7964/7965.