Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fruits and Vegetables: More Matters

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Generations have grown up with this saying. The nutritional value of fruit is almost endless. Antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars make fruit an important part of the food pyramid. They even have medicinal value; who has not heard of sailors using fruit on long voyages at sea to prevent scurvy, and of the beneficial uses of prunes as a natural laxative? The natural sugars also make fruit an excellent substitute as treats for kids and adults both.

Research continues to find strong links between increased fruit consumption and the decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Convincing evidence proves that fruit consumption plays a positive role in the reduced incidence of cataracts, diverticulosis, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, bronchitis, and osteoporosis.

Three Good Reasons To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
1. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vital nutrients.
The following categories of fruits and vegetables are important to eat at least several times a week for their nutritional benefits
Dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and leaf lettuce
Orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn
Dry beans such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas and black beans.
2. Fruits and vegetables look as good as they are for you.
Try eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. The potential benefits associated with eating more fruits and vegetables stack up quickly – reducing your risk of chronic diseases in only the beginning.
3. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s perfect convenience food.
Fruits and vegetables provide the unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, abundant variety and multiple product forms.

Serving More Is Easy!
For Snacks:
Fresh fruits and vegetables beat candy by a mile.
Put whole fruit in a bowl on the counter – it’s easy to see and remember to eat.
Keep dried fruits, like raisins and trail mixes, on hand.
Make the TV snack fresh produce for everyone, with dips of low-fat sour cream or dressing for vegetables; low-fat yogurt and honey for fruit dips.
Use pre-cut melons and fruit cups for quick and easy snacks.
At Meals:
It’s easy to enlarge your portion of vegetables by adding them to the foods you already enjoy.
Use fresh-cut vegetables to decorate homemade or frozen pizza.
Add vegetables to soups, stews, pasta sauces, omelets and sandwiches.
Prepare entrée salads with lots of vegetables topped by a small serving of meat.
With Kids:
Let children help prepare dinner by “decorating” entrees and side dishes with fresh-cut vegetables. In this case, a little nibbling is okay.
Stash carrot and celery sticks on low shelves so young children can reach them more easily than the sugar snacks
Have kids design their plates: broccoli for the trees; carrots and celery for flowers; cauliflower for clouds and yellow squash for the sun
Freeze whole seedless grapes for a cool, sweet treat.


The following video, Popeye: Gopher Spinach, courtesy of You Tube.


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