Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month!

If you did not know, September is Focus on Fruits and Veggies Month! With Fall right around the corner, there are a ton of fruits and veggies that will be coming into season. This wellness blog will cover some ways for you and your department to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into your routine.

The purpose of Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month is to emphasize the suggested amount of fruits and vegetables that we should all eat each day. Did you know that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that you should fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables for every meal?

Although this may seem like a lot of fruits and veggies, there are a few tips that I have been using lately to try to achieve this goal.

First, there are tons of great snacks that can also give you a serving of vegetables! Instead of potato chips, try veggie chips or veggie straws. If your department offers vending machines or a snack bar, look into replacing traditional chips with these alternatives. When I saw veggie straws, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical. At your departmental meetings, programs, and events, try to offer fruits and vegetables. Seeking sponsorship's from local grocery stores could be a good way to secure produce donations.

Additionally, finding a good source of fresh produce is vital to achieving this goal. I get my produce from a local farm stand that's actually only a few miles away from my house. If you are lucky to have something similar near your house or office, take advantage of the opportunity! If you do not have a produce stand near you, try farmers markets or trips to your local grocery store to get large supplies of fresh produce. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has published a list of "Certified Roadside Farm Markets". While this does not list all of the farm stands throughout our state, it should give you a good start!

As the seasons change, so does the availability of local produce. Wondering what's currently in season for North Carolina? Check out the North Carolina produce chart! It's a great resource for figuring out what to buy.

Lastly, dried, canned, and frozen fruits and veggies still count towards this goal! It may not always be feasible to have fresh produce on hand, but there are options to keep you on track. Frozen fruit works great in smoothies, while dried fruits and vegetables are awesome to snack on. Next time you are at the grocery store, stock up on these options!

Wondering why eating more fruits and veggies is important? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlights three key reasons:

  1. Fruits and vegetables are major contributors of a number of nutrients that are under consumed in the U.S.—vitamins A, C and K, potassium, fiber and magnesium.

  2. Fruits and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

  3. Fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories which can replace high calorie foods that aid in weight gain

​I hope that this wellness blog has given you some tips!

Until next time, Diquan

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