NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Nutrition on the Go

Nutrition on the Go

            Nutrition and health may be reasons you eat fruits and vegetables, but there are many other reasons why you choose the ones you do. Perhaps it is because of taste, or physical characteristics such as crunchiness, juiciness, or bright colors.

            You may eat some fruits and vegetables because of fond memories—like  watermelon or corn at cookouts, your mom’s green bean casserole, or tomatoes your dad brought in from the backyard garden .Or you may simply like them because most are quick to prepare and easy to eat.

            Whatever the reasons we select certain fruits and vegetables, the important thing is that we eat them and encourage children to do the same. 

            Fruits and vegetables give us many of the nutrients that our bodies need: vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, water, and healthful phytochemicals. Some are sources of vitamin A, while others are rich in vitamin C, folate, or potassium. Almost all fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and none have cholesterol.

           Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss. Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice. Eating foods such as fruits that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

           Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.

       What Counts as a Cup of Fruit or Vegetables?

• 1 cup (8 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice

• 1 cup cooked or canned vegetables or fruit

• 2 cups raw leafy vegetables is equivalent to 1 cup of vegetables

• 1 cup dried beans or peas, cooked

• 1/2 cup dried fruit

            Here are some ways you can eat more fruits throughout the day.

● At breakfast, top your cereal with bananas or peaches; add blueberries to pancakes; drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice.

● At lunch, pack a tangerine, banana, or grapes to eat, or choose fruits from a salad bar. Don’t forget individual containers of fruits—they are easy and convenient.

● At dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw; include mandarin oranges in a tossed salad; have a fruit salad for dessert.

● For snacks spread peanut butter on apple slices; have a frozen juice bar (100% juice); top frozen yogurt with berries or slices of kiwi fruit; snack on some dried fruit.

            Luscious Lime Fruit Salad


            This fruit salad combines fresh fruit goodness with a simple fresh lime and pineapple juice dressing.



            6 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped

            1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced

      1/2 pound seedless green grapes

      1/2 pound seedless red grapes

        3 bananas, peeled and sliced

        1/2 cup granulated sugar, or less, to taste

Dressing:  Juice of one lime, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger

            Combine chopped and sliced fruits in a large serving bowl; toss gently. Sprinkle with sugar. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour dressing mixture over fruit and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill the fruit salad thoroughly before serving.
Serves 10-12.


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