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Dietitans Dish: More Matters in September

Sept. 6, 2010 at 4:06 a.m.
Updated Sept. 7, 2010 at 4:07 a.m.


September is More Matters Month, which means to add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.

No matter if they are fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100 percent juice, there are more than 200 choices that are delicious, convenient and will keep you healthy year round.

Even better, there are so many types of fruits and vegetables along with many ways to prepare them, so you'll never get bored. Fruits and vegetables can be used as a snack, a side dish, dessert and even an entree.

Fruits and vegetables are full of needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and are low in fat and calories. Some vitamins include vitamin C, K and A, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, potassium and iron.

Having a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will keep the body working at its best and give your body a strong defense against disease.

They are also full of fiber, which will help you feel fuller longer and have been shown to reduce the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

The average adult needs about 1 to 2 cups of fruits and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day. Children need about 1 to 2 cups of fruit and 1 to 3 cups of vegetables a day. It is also important to try to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables to get different vitamins and minerals.

How do you measure how much to eat? Here is a quick measuring reference; one measured cup of most raw, canned, frozen or juice, 1 medium fruit (tennis ball size apple) or a potato the size of a light bulb counts as 1 cup, cup of dried fruit counts as 1 cup and 1 cup of leafy green vegetables (lettuce, spinach) counts as cup.

More examples and other helpful information can be found at www.MyPyramid.gov.

If you do not eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, where do you start? Here are a few helpful tips to get you started to add more to your day.

A fruit is a great afternoon snack, side dish or dessert.

Top off your cereal with fresh or frozen berries or a banana.

Add frozen or fresh vegetables to an omelet.

Add fresh vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes) to your sandwich.

Have a salad or vegetable soup for lunch or as an appetizer.

Have a vegetable (baby carrots, green beans) instead of fries with your burger.

Put a box of raisins, fruit or raw vegetables with dip in your desk or bag.

Add fresh or frozen vegetables to a casserole, stir-fry or pasta.

Add fresh or frozen fruit to yogurt, pudding or ice cream.

Don't forget to have a vegetable as a side dish.

Now that you have some helpful tips, add fruits and vegetable to your next grocery list and make it your goal to add more fruits and vegetables to your day because more matters.

Kathryn Steve is a registered and licensed dietitian. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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