NDSU Extension Service - Benson County

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Fruits and Vegetables Matter

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

As you stroll through the grocery store, you will most likely notice more fruits and vegetables now than most other times of the year.  While different produce is in season all year around, in North Dakota, we are able to get more produce now, since our growing season is limited.  Because of this, it is important to take advantage of home gardens, farmer’s markets, and fresh fruits and vegetables from the store. 

Not only do fruits and vegetables taste better when they are in season, they are also a lower cost.  When fresh fruits and vegetables are out of season, eating canned or frozen produce is just as nutritious, and will last longer if you do not plan on eating it all right away.

Regardless of what form your fruits and vegetables take, it is important that you and your family consume enough.  Fruits and vegetables provide us with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber and a variety of other important nutrients.  According to the My Plate recommendations, just over ¼ of our plate should be filled with vegetables, and just under ¼ of our plate should be filled with fruit.  Unfortunately, only about 40% of kids age 2-18 get enough fruit.  Even more concerning, only 7% of kids get enough vegetables.  Missing out on the nutrients that fruits and vegetables has a big impact on our health, no matter what our age is.  Be sure to find a way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal.  It is also important to include different colors of fruits and vegetables, as they all provide different nutrients. 

Here is a recipe for roasted root vegetables.  It includes a variety of delicious vegetables, some of which you may even find in your garden.  Enjoy!

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 4 root vegetables (choose a variety from potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.) (medium)
  • 2 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 onion (medium, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Directions:

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the vegetables into large chunks.  Place in a medium bowl and pour oil over top. Add seasonings or Parmesan and mix well.  Next, spread an even layer on a baking sheet.  Finally, bake for 1 hour or until tender. Check a few vegetables to see if they are tender.

Makes 4 servings.  260 calories per serving, 15 grams of fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 150 mg sodium, and 6 grams of fiber.

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