For as long as anyone of us can remember, mothers have tried to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Today mothers still say it is important for their family to eat fruits and vegetables and yet most acknowledge that family members are eating too few.
Reasons vary as to why, but the bottom line is many people today still do not eat enough of Earth's natural sustenance. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, reports that few Americans consume the amounts of fruits and vegetables recommended as part of a healthy diet. There are three reasons stated in the guidelines that support the recommendations for eating more fruits and vegetables. These include:
The consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases.
Most fruits and vegetables, when consumed without added fats or sugars, are relatively low in calories. Eating these foods instead of higher calorie foods can help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Most fruits and vegetables are major contributors of several nutrients that are under consumed in the United States including folate, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and vitamins A, C and K.
Mom has known fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals for years, but new benefits to consuming fruits and vegetables have surfaced in recent years. Phytonutrients, or phytochemicals, are bioactive compounds in foods that promote health and help reduce the risk for many diseases.
So how do we get more fruits and vegetables in our diet? Be sure to include them on your grocery list. Plan to serve the fresh fruits and vegetables within the first few days of bringing them home. Then serve canned, frozen and dried until you stock up on the fresh stuff again to avoid waste.
Plan to include more fruits and vegetables in the diet by including salad with at least one meal every day, preferably two. Use all kinds of raw vegetables and fruits in the salads.
A few great vegetables to add to the salad greens include tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, summer squash, carrots, jicama, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus tips. All kinds of berries, orange segments, apple slices and melon balls make nice additions to any salad.
Keep ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables available for snacks. A bowl of fresh whole fruits like bananas, apples, oranges and pears is an encouragement to choose them for a snack. Ready-to-eat vegetables such as carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets and radishes can be kept in clear containers in the refrigerator to offer great options.
You can top cereals with strawberries or blueberries, add sliced bananas or diced peaches to puddings or serve pineapple with a dollop of cottage cheese. Make sure casseroles, soups or omelets contain plenty of chopped vegetables.
Prepare vegetables in different ways than you would normally eat them. For example, this curried cauliflower cream soup is a great way to serve cauliflower. It complements a nice summer salad or sandwich to create a satisfying lunch.
Learn with Lunch
Becky will teach Learn with Lunch at noon May 14 at the Gourmet Grille inside Buy For Less, 3501 Northwest Expressway and at noon May 21 at the 10011 SE 15 St., location in Midwest City. Learn with Brunch will be at 9:30 a.m. May 15 at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell Rd. in Edmond. Class size is limited, call 302-6273 ext. 332 for reservations.
Curried Cauliflower Cream Soup
Makes 6 cups
2 cups chopped onion
4 cups vegetable broth
6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon curry powder
Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving contains approximately 69 calories and 2.6 grams fat.