September is Fruits and Vegetables—More Matters Month. Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase the nutritional value of your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables not only are tasty and satisfying, but also are great sources of many nutrients that are pivotal to our health such as vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is easier and cheaper than many think. Here are some tips for increasing your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- Taste the rainbow! Try to make every meal as colorful as possible. Red, orange, or dark green fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals. Challenge yourself to see how many colors you can get on your plate.
- Buy in season. This is normally the best option for cost effectiveness. Try your local farmer’s market for local, in season options.
- Keep fruits and vegetables handy and readily accessible. Put a bowl of fruit on your table. Cut up vegetables and store them in individual packages in the refrigerator for later.
- Snack on fruits and vegetables. It is a great way to increase your intake.
- Use coupons. Many grocers have great specials every week. Take advantage of what is available on the cheap.
- Even if you are couponing, do not purchase more than you plan to eat. Fruits and vegetables will not last forever.
- Purchase canned or frozen fruits and vegetables for a longer lasting supply. Here are a few tips:
- Compare pricing between varying brands. Some grocers will have house brands that are cheaper than brand name.
- Always choose fruit canned in 100 percent fruit juice, not in syrup.
- Aim for “low sodium” or “no salt added” vegetables.
- Be cautious when buying juice because of added sugars that may be present. Always read the label!
- Don’t get bored. Try a new recipe or make a family favorite. Remember, there are infinite ways to use fruits and vegetables either as primary or alternative ingredients.
Free nutrition consultations available
Navigating all of the nutrition information available can be confusing. Let Health Promotion and Wellness help steer you in the right direction with a nutrition consultation. Fill out a three-day food diary and health questionnaire and then meet one-on-one in a confidential setting to discuss any nutrition-related questions or goals you may have. Call (309) 438-WELL (9355) with any questions. Additional nutrition information is available on the Health Promotion and Wellness website.
There are many great resources for those interested in increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- Color your plate!
- Easy fruit and veggie recipes
- Fruits and Veggies—More Matters! website