Celebrate National Nutrition Month® by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet
Fueling your body with nutritious foods is a key part of healthy living, and eating right will give you the energy to tackle your hectic schedule with oomph to spare. Vegetables and fruits have essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals that work to protect you from a variety of chronic diseases and maintain your digestive health. The theme for March’s National Nutrition Month® is ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,’ so it’s a great time to improve your diet and eating habits. “Eating healthier foods doesn’t have to be a chore,” said Carol Voss, IDPH’s nutrition coordinator. “It can actually be delicious and easy to do.”
One simple way to improve your nutrition is to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies at each meal. By eating plentiful amounts of tasty fruits and veggies, you will:
· Supply your body with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to perform
· Add fiber to keep you satisfied longer
· Help your digestive system run smoothly
· Reduce your risk of many diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
You can easily add more fruits and vegetables each day by trying these tips:
· Have fruits and veggies ready to eat. Clean and cut everything as soon as you get home from the store, buy pre-cut packages, or keep a bowl of fruit in easy reach.
· Post bright signs on the fridge to remind you of what fruits and veggies you have on hand.
· Substitute applesauce or pureed pumpkin for oil or butter in baked goods.
· Sneak pureed zucchini, spinach, or sweet potatoes into your pizza dough.
· Add veggies to pasta. Tomatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini and onions work great!
· Use spaghetti squash in place of noodles.
· Layer veggies on sandwiches; lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and avocado will add a taste sensation!
· Use romaine lettuce or cabbage leaves as taco shells or wraps.
· Use fruit on top of ice cream and yogurt.
Live Healthy Iowa, a program of the Iowa Sports Foundation, has ongoing health challenges to promote nutrition and physical activity. The Iowa Community Transformation Grant through the Iowa Department of Public Health has partnered with Live Healthy Iowa to expand nutrition outreach information. Live Healthy Iowa offers participants unlimited access to healthy recipes and other useful nutrition resources. Visit Live Healthy Iowa at www.livehealthyiowa.org for other nutrition tips. For more information on the Iowa Community Transformation Grant, go to www.idph.state.ia.us/ctg.