Recipe Roundup: August 2021
Are you eating your veggies (and fruits)?
by Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist, NDSU Extension
I have an activity for you. Think about what you ate yesterday.
How much fruit or vegetables (in cups) did you have for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner? Was this usual? If not, think about a typical day.
• How many cups of vegetables, including juice, do you usually eat per day?
• How many cups of fruit, including juice, do you usually eat per day?
The current recommendation for adults is 4½ to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables (in total) per day, which varies with your age and activity. The goal is to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and to fill the rest of your plate with grains and various types of protein, with a calcium source such as milk on the side. Have more whole fruits and veggies than juice.
Unfortunately, only about 10% of adults meet this goal. Even fewer children meet the goal.
Why eat vegetables and fruits?
Let the wide assortment of fresh produce available at summer’s end inspire you to add some color and nutrition to your plate. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins A and C and minerals, such as potassium. Eating more fruits and vegetables can lower our risk for cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Eating more vegetables and fruits also can help us lose weight or maintain our current weight.
We can’t change our genetics, which might put you more at risk for certain health conditions. However, we can change our lifestyle, including our food and fitness choices.
What would you be willing to do?
If you aren’t meeting the recommendations, enjoy more of the delicious produce in season at farmers markets, grocery stores and maybe from your own backyard.
Consider these strategies. Check the ones that might work for you.
• Eat a variety of food from all the food groups every day.
• Keep cleaned fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator in clear containers, ready to eat.
• Have vegetables with low-fat dip for a snack.
• Add extra vegetables to casseroles, stews and soups.
• Drink 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks or soda pop.
• Have fruit for dessert.
• Keep a bowl of apples, bananas and/or oranges on the table. Rinse them and dry with a paper towel so they are ready to eat.
• Choose a side salad made with a variety of leafy greens.
• Bake with raisin, date or prune puree to reduce fat and increase fiber.
• Add lettuce, onions, peppers and/or tomatoes to sandwiches.
• Order veggie toppings on your pizza.
• Enjoy fruit smoothies for breakfast or snacks. Add a handful of fresh spinach to your smoothie.
• Pack fresh or dried fruits for quick snacks.
• Be sure to freeze, can, ferment or dry fruits and vegetables using the latest guidance for quality and safety. See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and explore the free, research-based information about food preservation. Contact your local office of NDSU Extension for more information.
• Try a new recipe or two!