Fruit and Veggies – More Matters

September 2016

The Inter Tribal Council on Arizona is celebrating September with the Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Campaign. The American Indian population has among the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the United States. Studies have shown that among overweight adults, higher intakes of green leafy or dark yellow vegetables were significantly associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. More than 90% of both adults and children do not eat the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the latest dietary guidelines. Dietitians recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.  Try these tips to help meet this goal:

  1. Fruit Skewers – Frozen fruit chunks such as grapes, banana slices, blueberries, mango or watermelon on skewers – make a rainbow on a stick.
  2. Breakfast Boost – Add bananas or berries to your morning cereal or oatmeal. If you eat an omelet, add bell peppers and onions for some extra flavor and nutrition.
  3. Fill up on Veggies – Making soup, pizza, sandwiches, or lasagna? Try adding some vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, etc.
  4. Be Sneaky – If you have a picky eater, try shredding or finely dicing some veggies into some of their favorite dishes.
  5. Feature a Fresh New Vegetable– have your child pick out a new vegetable each week and incorporate that vegetable into your meals or snacks. Children are much more likely to try something new when they pick it out themselves.
  6. Goodbye Cookie – Try offering fruits and veggies with a dip as a snack instead of cookies or crackers.  Studies show the popularity of serving cookies as a children’s’ snack is on the decline. Fruit is now the number one snack item parents give to children under the age of six. Try sliced cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, apples etc.
  7. Smoothies – Try using yogurt and your favorite mixture of fruits to blend together into a smoothie as a refreshing drink.
  8. Salad on the side – Try offering a small side salad at dinner time. Children can fill their plate with how ever much they want.

 

Reasons why to eat more fruits and vegetables?

  1. They are delicious!
  2. Fun to eat – some crunch, squirt, some you can peel, and some you can grow in your own backyard!
  3. Quick, convenient, and natural – fruits and vegetables are natures treat – they are very portable and easy to pack as a snack.
  4. Variety – They come in so many colors, shapes, and sizes.
  5. Vitamins and minerals – they pack a lot of nutrients to keep you feeling healthy and energized.
  6. May reduce risk of diseases – eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may reduce a person’s risk of many diseased including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
  7. Low in calories.
  8. Fiber – fruits and veggies provide fiber that helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy.

Adapted from: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/September+is+Fruits+%26+Veggies–More+Matters+Month

To learn more about the importance of fruits and veggies, check out the following resources:
Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Infographic
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/fruits-veggies-more-matters-resources/fruits-veggies-more-matters

 

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