You’ve probably heard your elders tell you to “eat your fruits and vegetables.” This is a statement that still remains true as a critical component of living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Have you had your daily allowance of fruits and vegetables? Take advantage of the fall produce that will soon be in our grocery stores and at our farmer’s markets!

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and stroke. Fruits and vegetables also provide many essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients we require on a daily basis.

The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables needed generally depends on your age, gender, and level of physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends eating eight or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day. An average adult consuming 2,000 calories daily should aim for 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. This fall, try pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes to get a boost of vitamin A, and bell peppers or mangos for some extra vitamin C. Take a look at more seasonal produce from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll realize how easy adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can be!

Did You Know?

  • Any product that contains fruit has some natural sugars. However, sugars are often added to packaged or prepared fruit.
  • Sodium is also often added to canned or frozen vegetables.
  • There are many ways to support your local farmers. Take a look at what is going on in your area!
  • Fruit can be grilled too! Click here for a recipe for grilled fruit kebabs!

Tips for Adding Produce

  1. Keep it colorful. Make it a red/green/orange day (apple, lettuce, carrot), or see if you can consume a rainbow of fruits and vegetables during the week.
  2. Add it on. Add fruit and vegetables to foods you love. Try adding frozen peas to mac’n’cheese, veggies on top of pizza and slices of fruit on top of breakfast cereals or low-fat ice cream.
  3. Mix them up. Add fruits and vegetables to food that’s cooked or baked, or mix vegetables in with pasta sauces, lasagnas, casseroles, soups and omelets.
  4. Roast away. Try roasting vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, carrots, tomatoes or eggplant.
  5. Use healthier cooking methods. Steaming, grilling, sautéing, roasting, baking and microwaving vegetables are ideal preparation methods. Use fats and oils low in saturated fats sparingly; don’t use trans fats.

Read additional tips for adding produce to your diet from the American Heart Association.

Sources: Eatright.org, Fruits and Veggies More Matters, The American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lets Move.gov, Obesity Action, USDA, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.