Fruits & Veggies More Matters Month is a stupid name for a month, but it is good advice. Even if it sounds like what Yoda would name a month dedicated to emphasizing the importance of fruits and vegetables, let’s take the month of September to appreciate the importance of fresh produce.
- Plenty of fiber-rich produce leads to lower blood pressure.
- A diet rich in plant food can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Getting your veggies can help lower the risk of certain types of cancer
- Plenty of produce makes us feel better, too, with regular bathroom habits, more energy, and better skin and hair among the benefits that cheer us up.
At this point, you probably don’t need to be convinced that fruits and vegetables are good for you. Everybody already knows that. But knowing that fruits and veggies are good for your health doesn’t necessarily translate into eating more of them.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fewer than 1 in every 7 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day and less than 10% of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day.
Here are some tips for increasing the amount of produce you actually eat:
- Half your plate should be full of vegetables. A big salad, lightly steamed green beans, or roasted squash all make great choices in September.
- Buy more fruits and vegetables. It’s important to get a variety, so roam through the produce section of the farmers market with your eyes open for something new and tasty to try.
- Add some color to your plate. Your greens are important but they don’t have all of the vitamins and nutrients that you need to be healthy. Radishes, beets, butternut squash, and carrots are some bright choices.
- Plant a garden. If you didn’t get around to it in the spring, do it now. Kale, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, and all your favorite greens can be planted right now in Northwest Arkansas.
- Make smoothies with frozen fruits and add some fresh vegetables.
- Chop vegetables and store them in containers for easy snacking.
- Try new recipes that call for fruits and vegetables, or add them to your current favorites to make them healthier. You might be surprised what you can add vegetables to — how about grated carrots and chopped olives in pasta sauce, fresh tomatoes and peppers in chili, or corn and beans in tacos?
- Set a fruit bowl on the table that people can see and snack on.
The Fruits & Veggies – More Matters website has some great recipe ideas and great information.