This holiday season, instead of focusing on what we should be eating less of, perhaps we’re better off shifting the focus to what we should be eating more of. Fill up on veggies and you’ll be set to consume just the right amount of dessert. No more, no less.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that last year about one-third of U.S. adults consumed fruit or fruit juice at least twice a day, down slightly from more than 34 percent in 2000. About 26 percent of Americans ate vegetables three or more times a day, the same results as reported in 2000. So, only one quarter to one third of us are eating anywhere close to enough of these amazing plants. To help us all eat more of these great foods the CDC established the Fruits and Veggies – More Matters! Program. It’s based on a simple premise—more fruits and vegetables matter. They are:
- Low in calories
- High in fiber
- May reduce risk of many diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers
- Rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized
- Probably ease the effects of aging
- Can be a helpful part of maintaining a healthy weight and managing or avoiding development of diabetes and other diseases that result from being overweight.
Our family is going to start this holiday season off with healthy habits that include less worry about enjoying a few treats and instead focus on including more fruits and veggies. We’re adding a veggie appetizer, two more vegetable side dishes and a fruit desert to our Thanksgiving menu. If we start now, when the New Year comes around, our resolutions might have nothing to do with improving our diet. Here are some recipe ideas: green beans, roasted vegetables, salad.
Of note, if you’re managing a special diet, fruits and veggies can provide a rich, nutritious and tasty alternative to many common challenges. If cheese and crackers should be avoided, try roasted eggplant instead.
Want to join in the Fruits and Veggies—More Matters Program? Visit the CDC’s site for lots of health and nutrition information, including a fruits and veggie serving calculator.