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Eat your vitamins

Posted 8/21/2015

Many people’s lives are so hectic that the idea of standing over a stove to prepare a meal is unbearable! Fortunately, there are foods that require very little or no cooking at all. These foods are fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are cool, refreshing, light, colorful and flavorful. They are filling without being overwhelming. They are portable and go well with just about any other food. They are especially tasty all by themselves.

Why eat fruits and vegetables?

A varied diet packed with fruits and vegetables can help reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and other diseases. Foods in the fruit and vegetable groups are valuable for their contribution of energy-giving carbohydrates, dietary fiber, water, and significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. The dietary fiber found in fruits and vegetables cannot be found in vitamin pills. Research also indicates that there are naturally-occurring components in fruits and vegetables, called phytochemicals, which have a beneficial effect on health by preventing cancer and other diseases. Due to their high dietary fiber and water content, most fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories. Avocados, olives and coconuts are exceptions. Fruits and vegetables eaten raw help clean teeth and promote good dental health. Best of all, fruits and vegetables contain no cholesterol.

Tips for eating fruits and vegetables

  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of packaged snacks. You’ll avoid eating too much fat and sodium, and you will save money. Serving for serving, fruits and vegetables cost less than cookies and potato chips.
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season. They’ll be cheaper and at their flavor and nutritional peaks.
  • Watch the ads for sales on your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  • Buy both ripe and not-so-ripe fruits and vegetables. Some will be ready to eat right away and the others will be ready in a few days after you’ve eaten the ripe ones.
  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetables where you can see them often—on the top shelf of the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter.
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy microwave cooking.
  • Shop for precut and cleaned fruits and vegetables. They make eating fruits and vegetables easy.
  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily to get the most nutrients they can offer.
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Fruits and vegetables are great on their own. Don’t overindulge in fruits and vegetables prepared with high-fat ingredients.

Email or call Susan Lednicky, Nutritionist with Clark County Cooperative Extension, at 702-257-5548.

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