Summer is the perfect time to focus on eating plenty of delicious, ripe seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with disease defying vitamins, minerals and fiber. An adequate intake is good for your skin, immune system, digestion, and will help ward off high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Often our lifestyle goals focus on what not to eat; what if we tried the opposite? How about increasing our produce intake? My goal is to increase my vegetable consumption by filling ½ my plate with them at lunch and dinner. I hope you’ll try it too!
Help your family join you in eating healthier; here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Take the kids to the farmers market and give them each a few dollars… let them choose produce to take home for the week.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter and encourage them to grab a piece whenever they need a snack. Or, set up a platter of fresh cut fruits and vegetables at a time they are typically prowling the kitchen for junk food.
- Keep a container in the refrigerator full of washed and cut celery sticks, carrots, and cucumber slices. They’re great to have on hand to eat with sandwiches at lunch and to nibble on as snacks.
- Intrigue them with a dip to go with their vegetables (hummus, lite ranch dressing, or peanut butter).
Together we can beat the odds… most Americans eat 3 servings of non-starchy fruits and vegetables a day. Can you eat 9 servings a day? (A serving is about 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked). OK, that might be overly ambitious if you never eat vegetables. Set a goal that’s right for you and then keep a tally. Whatever amount you can increase it by is a worthwhile improvement!
For more about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables and how to use the ‘Plate Method’ to increase your intake, visit these websites:
Here’s to eating healthier,
Stephanie Allen is Co-founder and President of Dream Dinners and a New York Times best-selling co-author of The Hour that Matters Most. Naturally a visionary and optimist, Stephanie hopes to inspire America through her nurturing voice of encouragement, assuring families… “You’re doing a great job!”