Do Mom a favor: Eat your fruits and veggies

Fruits and vegetable offer a myriad health benefits, and they're mom-approved.
BY BECKY VARNER beckyvarner@cox.net Published: May 8, 2013
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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.

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Curried Cauliflower Cream Soup

Makes 6 cups

1 large head cauliflower, core removed and cut in florets

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

Pour oil in large pot and heat to medium. Add onion and saute 2 to 3 minutes or until it begins to get tender.

Add ginger, jalapeno, garlic, curry powder, vegetable broth and cauliflower. Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Puree with an immersion blender in the pot or ladle the contents into a blender in several batches to get the job done. If using a blender be sure it has a tight fitting lid with a lid cap to release steam and cover with a towel to avoid splattering as the soup will still be hot.

Once all the soup is pureed, return it to the pot or into a serving bowl and serve in bowls garnished with cilantro.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving contains approximately 69 calories and 2.6 grams fat.

SOURCE: Becky Varner

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