Health beat: fruit and veggies matter

So you’ve been trying to eat right and working to fit in your “5-a-day” servings of fruit and vegetables. Well, the government has some news for you: starting in March, the Center for Disease Control and the Produce for Better Health Foundation launched a national campaign with the message, “Fruits & Veggies – More Matters.” The campaign message gets away from the old terminology of “servings” and focuses on simply eating more fruits and vegetables.

The new slogan replaces the old “5-a-day” campaign, which dates back to the early 1990s. The reason for the slogan change is that, under the U.S. government’s latest food guidelines, five cups of fruits and vegetables may not be enough.

Adults need anywhere from seven to 13 cups of produce daily to get all the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, including possible protection against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. 

However, for many people it is challenging to fit five cups of fruits and vegetables into their daily plan. If we need seven to 13 cups, how will we be able to manage? Just think of the slogan “More Matters.”  Look at ways to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Here are some ideas.

• If you are eating one cup today, aim for two cups tomorrow. Set small goals to get started on a healthier eating plan. Remember, “More Matters.”
• Start your day off right: slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal or grab a piece of fresh fruit as you go out the door.
• Have a salad with lunch or dinner, or add carrot sticks for a snack.
• Keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers.
• When you keep fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible you tend to eat them more; for instance, store cut and cleaned produce at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big bowl of fruit on the table.
• As a fast food alternative, the commissary offers prepared items, including sliced fruit, packaged baby carrots, salad mixes, and a salad bar to satisfy your hunger.
• Take a trip to a local farmer’s market: it is a great way to increase the variety of fresh produce in your eating plan.

If you need help getting started on a healthy plan, take advantage of the services at the Ramstein Health & Wellness Center. Classes and individual appointments are available to meet your needs. Call 06371-474292 (480-HAWC) for information. (Courtesy of the 435th Air Base Wing Medical Group)