Snack Your Way to a Healthier You!

In honor of National Nutrition Month, take five minutes and see if you are getting enough fruit and vegetables in your diet. If you get about two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables per day, then you are on track! If you are not hitting those numbers, try to make that your goal. Read the tips below from Registered Dietitian, Elizabeth Batalao, Community Hospital Long Beach, on ways you can add fruits and vegetables to your everyday diet.

As a registered dietitian, I understand making the right food and nutrition choices is a necessary part of daily life — but often finding the best, and most accurate, information can be confusing. Don’t be discouraged, it is possible to develop a plan that emphasizes a balance of food and promotes healthy eating. A great resource to use as you build a healthy plate and promote positive lifestyle changes, is the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Research studies, and breaking news about food and nutrition, appear in headlines almost every day. With so many changes, it can be difficult to tell which recommendations are based on strong scientific evidence. Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts and can help translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. Start with these simple tips of adding fruits and vegetables to start creating your healthy eating plan.

Know The Facts

  • There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables also can help lower cholesterol.
  • A report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that more than two-thirds of adults eat fruit fewer than two times a day, and almost three-quarters eat vegetables fewer than three times daily.
  • People in the United States are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables. But how much are we actually eating? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, not much. While the Dietary Guidelines recommend eating seven to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, Americans report consuming just 4.4 servings.

Seven Ways To Enjoy More Fruits And Vegetables

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  1. Breakfast Smoothie. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
  2. Add Color. A nice way to add color to your salad is to add baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.
  3. Make Fruit Your Dessert. Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  4. Wrap It. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
  5. Get Saucy with Fruit. Purée apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, french toast or waffles.
  6. Think Ahead. Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks. Try red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers or snap peas.
  7. Wake Up to Fruit. Make it a habit to add fruit to your morning oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or waffle.

To start your healthy eating plan, try incorporating these tips into your everyday diet. Encourage family members and friends to join you and share your experiences with each other for motivation.