NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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THINK TWICE ABOUT YOUR FOOD CHOICES  3/1/19Give yourself a pat on the back if you are consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables!  Only 1 in 4 people in the U.S. does this, so you are in the 25% who achieve that goal!

If you are in the 75% who aren’t eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, don’t despair!  Just use March (National Nutrition Month) as your incentive to begin making a few small changes that can add up to big improvements in your present and future health. 

Without much effort, we could have a steady diet of information about health/nutrition from TV, social media, magazines, radio, and friends.  But what parts are true, accurate and reliable and what parts are hype?  And how do you tell the difference?

Nutrition is a science. The topic consistently is being researched to ensure optimal health. One thing we do know is that a magic pill and cure-all diets simply do not exist. Using only reliable sources of information is important when looking for nutritional advice.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers My Plate (www.choosemyplate.gov) as a guide to healthful eating.  The guide separates the plate into five categories, which represent all the food groups. The five groups are fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy, with recommended amounts from each of the groups, depending on your gender, age, and physical activity level.

Why should we make it a priority to include the recommended amounts from the fruit and vegetables groups?  Because healthful eating patterns that include vegetables and fruit are associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

One recommendation is to fill half of our plate with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables to help meet that guideline.

Be sure to ENJOY those fruits and vegetables!  They add flavor and texture to a meal. Fruit is naturally sweet and can reduce the amount of added sugar sources we consume. Vegetables taste great in cold or hot dishes, can be used as a delicious snack or served as an easy side dish.

March is National Nutrition Month.  Use it to think about the food you typically eat. Where could you add in extra fruits and vegetables?  Start with one meal at a time and focus on using produce to replace the less healthful options on your plate.

Here are some ideas to help increase fruit and vegetable intake:

  • Keep colorful fruit and vegetables where you can see and grab them easily for an on-the-go snack.
  • Fill your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam for an easy side dish.
  • Blend fruits and vegetables into a smoothie.
  • Use vegetables as pizza toppings.
  • Replace chips with a crunchy vegetable and low-fat dressing.

Keeping food safety in mind, always rinse fresh produce under running water before cutting.  See the NDSU Extension publication “Vary Your Veggies: How to Select and Store Vegetables.”  Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/food and navigate to “food preparation.”

Adapted from: “Reflect on Your Food Choices During National Nutrition Month,” McKenzie Schaffer, NDSU dietetic intern, and Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist

Photo Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USDA_MyPlate_green.svg (downloaded 3/4/19)




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