Living Well in Yalobusha County

Do You Need To Eat More Fruits And Vegetables?

By: Pamela Redwine

MSU Extension Service

Healthy People 2010, a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative, has a goal to get persons over the age of 2 eating at least 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables each day.  Fruits and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk for chronic diseases and lower BMI.

Quiz yourself

Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables each day:

“How often do you drink fruit juices such as orange, grapefruit or tomato?”

“Not counting juice, how often do you eat fruit?”

“How often do you eat green salad?”

“How often do you eat potatoes, not including French fries, fried potatoes or chips?”

“How often do you eat carrots?”

“Not counting carrots, potatoes, or salad, how many servings of vegetables do you usually eat?”

These questions came from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and helps you judge whether or not you are getting enough fruits and vegetables each day.

Fruit (from questions one and two)

You should be eating fruit at least 2 or 3 times a day.  100% fruit juice can help you increase your servings of fruit, but this is not as good as whole fruit itself since it is devoid of the fiber.  The 2005 Dietary Guidelines call for most individuals to get 2 cups of fruit per day.  Right now the national average is just 1.6 servings.

Vegetables (from questions three to six)

You should be eating at least 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.  This should include a dark green and orange vegetable each day, not just French fries, ketchup and potato chips.  Most people do not get near enough and the BRFSS survey shows that consumption has dropped as a national average.

Often, just the slightest changes can make a big difference.  Here are ways to boost your fruit and vegetable consumption:

• Eat fruit for breakfast, snacks and desserts.  Vending machine food, packaged snacks and bakery items add extra calories to your waistline.  Further, they are probably displacing the fruits and vegetables you could be eating.

• Eat vegetables for lunch and dinner.  Big tossed salads with dark green lettuce and a few carrots are a good idea.  Low-fat pasta with vegetables, vegetable soup, vegetable side dishes, baked potatoes and raw vegetables are good choices too.

Recipe of the Week

Broccoli and Cheese Topped Potatoes

 4 large baking potatoes (6 to 8 ounces each)

2 cups fresh broccoli florets

1-cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pierce potatoes several times with fork.  Place in microwave oven on paper towel.  Microwave on High 15 minutes or just until softened.  Wrap in paper towels; let stand 5 minutes.

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add broccoli.  Cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender; drain.  Add milk, cottage cheese, mustard and red pepper flakes to broccoli in saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Remove from heat.

Combine 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, all of mozzarella cheese and flour in medium bowl.  Toss to coat cheese with flour; add to broccoli mixture.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and mixture is thickened.

Cut potatoes open.  Divide broccoli mixture evenly among potatoes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese.

Makes 4 servings

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