March is National Nutrition Month, the perfect time to start shaping up your diet and celebrating this year's theme: "Eat Right with Color." Nothing brings more color to a plate than delicious fruits and vegetables. Everyone knows that eating fruits and vegetables is important to good nutrition. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs to feel healthy and energized, and may help reduce the risk of obesity and many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.
Fruits and vegetables are the most colorful items on any plate. The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans say we should fill half our plates with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. The good news is that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables your family eats is easy because they come in so many delicious forms and varieties! Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, as well as 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices, each contribute to a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
"By filling half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, you'll be eating more of what your body needs to be healthy and at your optimum weight," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), the nonprofit entity in partnership with CDC behind the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters national public health initiative.
Make adding just one more serving of colorful fruits or vegetables to each meal a personal goal for National Nutrition Month. Think of it as a step in the right direction for your family's better health. Adding a healthy fruit or veggie side dish to your family's main meal is one easy way to increase your intake.
Here are some more:
- Keep your family's favorite frozen veggies on hand and add a handful to soups, casseroles and pasta dishes, even if the recipe doesn't call for them.
- Add cut up fresh veggies like onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and potatoes to omelets and quesadillas.
- Toss dried cranberries, dried blueberries, or raisins into yogurt or oatmeal and top breakfast cereal with a serving of fresh fruit.
- Include veggies like lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado, shredded carrots, or cucumbers on all your sandwiches and wraps.
- Make sure to top your pizza with your family's favorite vegetables.
- Begin your day with a glass of 100 percent juice.
What are your favorite colorful foods?