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Health Department Notes

Fruits & veggies - More Matters Month Research shows that fruit and vegetables are important to maintain good health. Yet more than 90 percent of adults and children aren’t eating enough fruit and vegetables. Eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables can help protect you from heart disease, bone loss, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also help you lose weight.

Listed below are the top 10 reasons to eat more fruits and veggies:

1. Fruits and vegetables add color and texture - and appeal - to your plate.

2. Fruits and veggies are nutritious and convenient to eat in any form: fresh, frozen, 100 percent juice, canned or dried.

3. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber to fill us up and keep our digestive system happy.

4. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories.

5. Eating fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.

6. Full of vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables help you feel healthy and energized.

7. There is always something new to try - fruits and vegetables offer variety in our diets.

8. Fruits and vegetables are a quick, natural snack.

9. They are fun to eat.

10. Fruits and vegetables are nutritious and delicious.

Including more fruits and vegetables throughout your day is easy. There are lots of ways and plenty of opportunities to eat more, because all product forms count - fresh, frozen, dried, canned and 100 percent juice. Just see how easy it is: for breakfast, have eight fresh, large strawberries (one cup) and hot cereal with a quarter cup raisins (quarter cup dried equals half cup fresh); for lunch, have vegetarian chili with canned tomatoes and beans (one cup) and carrots with dip ( half cup); for dinner, have a green salad (one cup of leafy greens equals half cup of veggies), frozen green beans ( half cup) and baked potato (one cup) and for a snack, have a small banana ( half cup) and apple juice ( half cup). Total for the day is two-and-a-half cups of fruit and three-and-a-half cups of veggies.

Other easy ways to add more:

• Make a yummy fruit smoothie for breakfast.

• Pack pre-packaged containers of fruit for at-work or at-school snacks.

• Mix frozen or canned vegetables into your favorite casseroles.

• Add dried fruits to grain side dishes, such as rice and couscous.

• Choose 100 percent juice instead of soda for lunch.

To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, foliate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon and white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.

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