Do you remember playing this game when you were a kid?
If so, you are oooooold…like me! 🙂
Actually all three of those categories are vital in a balanced diet, but I want to talk about vegetables in particular.
We all have heard time and time again that’s it important to eat your fruits and vegetables, but how many of us actually do it on a daily basis?
The National Cancer Institutes “5 to 9 a Day” program encouraged us to eat at least 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. (Since updated to a personalized program – check it out here: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/)
The goal is to eat:
- Five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables
- A variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
- High fiber fruits and vegetables
- At least one vitamin C rich fruit or vegetable
- At least one vitamin A rich fruit or vegetable
What’s a serving size? Not all that much, really…
- 1 cup raw leafy greens
- 1/2 cup fresh or cooked vegetables
- 1 medium apple, orange or banana
- 1/2 cup fresh, canned or cooked fruit
- 1/4 cup dried fruit
The reason I bring the number of daily servings up is because we get asked a lot – Fresh, frozen, canned, organic – which should I eat?
To which are answer is “All of the above!”
You see it doesn’t really matter which of those choices you make if you aren’t eating enough.
For instance we get asked a lot about buying organic – it’s a hot topic right now, and it seems everything is organic. Even Prograde Cravers are organic!
Organic is great, but what matters more is that you are getting enough fruits and veggies first, then worry about super high quality.
I also understand that fruits and vegetables can be expensive, and there is nothing wrong with choosing economical options. Personally my preference would be fresh (organic or not), frozen, and then canned. With canned fruits you need to be cautious about added sugar, and canned veggies can have a lot of sodium. A cold water rinse before you cook them can help get rid of some of that excess salt without affecting the quality.
You know what may be even more important than organic? Buying your produce locally. A vegetable picked from the farm down the road is going to be tastier and healthier than organic produce shipped halfway across the globe.
Pretty soon Farmers Markets are going to start popping up here in NH, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are also gaining in popularity. A CSA is where you buy a share of a local farm and get a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery of the farms crops, depending on the agreement.
I mentioned Milk and Honey Farm a couple weeks ago, which is the CSA Nancy and I purchases a share in. We went to visit the farm last Saturday, and are excited to report the first pickup is only about a month away!
Seriously, would you rather have vegetables shipped from who knows where, handled about 20 times by 20 different people, sitting on the shelves for an undetermined amount of time OR fresh picked produce with all the nutrients intact from a local farmer at an affordable price? Hmmmm…..
There is still time to buy a share, so if you are interested click the link above.
Milk and Honey isn’t the only CSA around. I went to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ and did a search for CSA’s in the Concord area, and it came up with 12 results, so you have options.
Look, I am not trying to tell you it is easy to integrate more vegetables and fruits into your eating plan, if it was easy we would all do it all the time! What I am saying is it is worth the effort. The health and disease prevention benefits are well documented and reliable.
So do what mom said – “Eat Your Vegetables” – she knew what she was talking about!
Make It Happen!