Jam-pack your lunch with fruits and vegetables
Sure, an apple a day can keep the doctor away. But did you know that eating at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables daily can also reduce your risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke?
September is Fruit and Veggies - More Matters Month, and the “Fruits and Veggies Matter” Program, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), is a national initiative to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by all Americans to 5 to 9 servings a day. Fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of a healthy diet, but most people need to double the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat every day.
Does eating 5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day sound unattainable? Well, take heart. It’s really not as much as you think:
Why are fruits and vegetables so good for you? They are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in certain fruits and vegetables are showing promising results towards preventing free radicals or cancer-causing agents from damaging cells.
If you have school-aged children, you’re probably carefully planning and packing a healthy, balanced lunch for your child every day. But, it’s essential you do the same for yourself. Think you couldn’t possible squeeze another apple into your day? Think again!
How to jam-pack your lunch with fruits and vegetables:
The variety of lunches loaded with fruits and vegetables is limited only by your imagination! But, here are a few more packable lunch ideas from Women’s Heart Secrets Program dietitian Jennifer Motl to get you going:
Make healthy adult lunches kid-friendly
To get children to try something new, mix it with something familiar, and eat it with them. So, try the curried chicken or Italian sandwiches at home first, maybe on a Saturday. Leave out the strongly flavored, unfamiliar ingredients the first time—the children can try basil or curry or mustard later. Simply dress the sandwich with lettuce instead. Serve it with something they already like, such as applesauce or a kid-sized chocolate-chip cookie.
If the Tuscan soup seems too unusual, try using a can of familiar chicken noodle soup and chop a bit of broccoli into it.
Give PB & J a fruity twist. Make a PB & B: peanut butter and sliced bananas on wheat bread instead. Serve with baby carrots and celery sticks and low-fat dip.
For more information about the Women’s Heart Secrets Program, call (414) 961-3600.