Toi Degree Column: June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month – Salisbury Post
By degree You
NC cooperative extension
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and you can celebrate it by preparing half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Choose red, orange, and dark green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, as well as other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as a dessert.
Fruits and vegetables contain many essential vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals. Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits can help lower blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent certain types of cancer, and lower the risk of eye and digestive problems. In addition, more fruits and vegetables in your diet will positively affect your blood sugar, reducing your appetite, thus reducing the amount and frequency of your meals. Eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables can even promote weight loss. Their low blood sugar loads prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger.
So, now you are starting to see the importance of fruits and vegetables; variety is just as important as quantity. Eat five kinds of vegetables and two different fruits every day for good health. While no single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need for good health, eat plenty of them every day!
Here are some tips for getting more fruits and vegetables every day:
- Keep the fruit where you can see it. Place several washed whole fruits ready to eat in a bowl, or store chopped colorful fruits in a glass bowl in the refrigerator to tempt foodies.
- Explore the product aisle and choose something new. Variety and color are essential for a healthy diet. Most of the time, try to get at least one serving from each of the following categories: dark green leafy vegetables; yellow or orange fruits and vegetables; red fruits and vegetables; legumes (beans) and peas; and citrus fruits.
- Skip the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are rich in different nutrients and slower digesting carbohydrates.
- Make it a meal. Try to cook new recipes that include more vegetables. Salads, soups and stir-fries are just a few ideas to increase the number of tasty vegetables in your meals.
Summer is a great time to start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet! You can get fresh okra, corn, squash, zucchini, blueberries, cherries and more. Don’t forget the Rowan County Farmers’ Market – you can go out and buy the freshest produce. The market is located at 228 E Kerr Street in Salisbury and is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. You will be able to get your produce of the week, flowers, baked goods and who knows what else you will find. I will even be there on June 26 to demonstrate the uses of the products on the market.
Here’s where you can learn how to make half your plate with fruits and vegetables:
Visit MyPlate, take the quiz, and learn how to make every bite count. You will also be able to customize the resources and get started with MyPlate. To visit the site, go to https://www.myplate.gov/
For more information on seasonal produce, visit https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide
This site is a wonderful guide that provides useful nutritional information, selection, storage, food information, and recipes. It’s simple to use: select the fruit or vegetable you want to learn more about and explore the possibilities.
Toi N. Degree is an Associate Family and Consumer Education Officer with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970 or [email protected]