A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has many potential health benefits:
- lower blood pressure
- reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
- prevent some types of cancer
- lower risk of eye and digestive problems
- improve blood sugar control
- eating non-starchy vegetables and fruits like apples, pears, and green leafy vegetables may even promote weight loss by preventing blood sugar spikes that can increase hunger.
The best rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at meals. These add lots of color and nutrients to your plate. Here are some tips to help increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter so it is always in plain view.
- Keep fruits and vegetables washed and cut up in the refrigerator for a quick snack or addition to a meal.
- Purchase frozen fruits and vegetables for fast and simple preparation.
- Make a tasty dip for fruits and vegetable using low fat yogurt and additional flavors such as honey or dill.
- Be creative in how you prepare and serve fruits and vegetables- chopped, shredded, spiralized, roasted, grilled.
- Try new recipes that include more vegetables- salads, soups, stir fries.
- Grow your own-strawberries, peppers, cucumbers; or find a farm or orchard where you can pick your own.
Add more color and variety to your diet by exploring the produce aisle for something new. Try to get at least one serving per day from each of these categories: dark green leafy vegetables; yellow or orange fruits and vegetables; red fruits and vegetables; legumes (beans) and peas; and citrus fruits.