In celebration of National Nutrition Month in March, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) and Wellness Now are joining the effort to make the goal of eating more fruits and vegetables fun and easy.
National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign that focuses attention on the importance of informed food choices and sound eating and physical activity habits.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 15 % of Oklahomans consume the recommended 5 fruits and vegetables every day. “We want to get the message out that eating more fruits and vegetables really isn’t that difficult or time consuming if you’ve got the right strategies,” says OCCHD Wellness Now Nutrition and Fitness coordinator Paul Deaver.
In partnership with Shape Your Future and the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan Obesity Work Group, Wellness Now is encouraging Oklahoma County residents to explore “Fruits & Veggies—More Matters” (www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org) as a resource to help families add healthier food to their daily lives.
“One of the big misconceptions is that people would need to drastically alter their meal planning and shopping routines to be healthier,” Deaver says. “But with very minimal changes and a little advance planning, it’s fairly easy to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our lives.”
Fruits & Veggies—More Matters provides 10 realistic tips for those planning and shopping for meals:
- Dried fruits – Take advantage of the vast assortment of dried fruits available and dress up your cereal or salads, or simply enjoy as a snack.
- Leftovers – Re-create leftovers to make a whole new meal. Use them in wraps or sandwiches, for quesadillas, in casseroles or with pasta.
- Convenience – Pick up some frozen or canned fruits and vegetables for later in the week or for busy nights.
- Experiment – Try new fruit or vegetables or prepare a familiar one in a different way.
- Seasoning Combinations – Buy plain (unseasoned) frozen vegetables and create seasoning combinations using herbs, lemon juice, or garlic to keep out the fat and salt.
- 100% Juice – Look for fruit and vegetable juices that say 100% juice!
- Smoothies for Breakfast – Frozen fruit makes great smoothies for a breakfast or on the run.
- Easy to Grab & Go – Fill up that fruit bowl so you and your family can grab and go.
- Meatless Meals – Plan one or more meatless meals for the week – there are endless possibilities for using dried or canned beans. They’re cheap too! Check out the variety in your store.
- Make More – Plan for leftovers so you have a ready meal.
For more information about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, including meal planning, ways to serve, recipes, growing your own and buying local, or National Nutrition Month initiatives, visit www.ShapeYourFutureOK.com, www.eatright.org/nnm/, and www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.
For more information on Wellness Now, visit www.OCCHD.org/wellnessnow.