5 to thrive during Heart Month

Do you eat least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day?  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides vitamins and minerals, which are important for supporting growth and development, and for optimal immune function in children.

Not quite reaching the goal of 5 servings each day? There are a few common reasons why people say they do not get enough servings of fruits and veggies each day. Does any of this sound familiar?
1. They really don’t know how much a serving is
2. They are not keeping track of how many servings they eat each day
3. They don’t eat at least one meal together each day with their family where fruits/veggies usually are served
4. They have a limited time to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast
5. They eat out during the week at places where there are not many healthy options available
6. And of course the biggest reason is that one or more family members only like a few kinds of fruits and veggies (if any) and it gets boring having the same ones over and over.

What is a serving?
A serving for an adult is most easily identified by the size of the palm of your hand.  Use that same general rule to understand the serving size for children.  So we all need about 5 palms of fruits/veggies each day.

Tip: Add ONE palm of fruits and/or veggie each day!
A few suggestions about how to add that ONE extra serving:
•  For ONE week, keep track of how many “palms” of fruits/veggies you have each day.
•  Add ONE easy to prepare fruit to your breakfast.  Eat it on the way to school or work if time is limited.
•  Add ONE day each week that your family eats a meal together.
•  Add ONE fruit or veggie as your evening snack.
•  Choose ONE healthier option if you are eating out or fast food and EAT it.
•  Try ONE new fruit or veggie each week, which could be trying a new way to prepare an already familiar fruit/veggie or serve with a new dip (e.g., yogurt).
•  Add ONE extra veggie to things you are already preparing (e.g., sandwich, eggs, pizza).
•  Add ONE fruit to your veggie salad.

Having fresh fruits and veggies that you like available year round can be hard to find and expensive.  Try adding frozen or canned fruits and veggies. They are just as good for you since the nutrients are preserved in the canning or freezing process.  Choose fruit packed in their natural juice, not in syrup. Choose canned veggies that are salt free and then season them yourself.

Success story:  Celebrate the ONE change that you have made to eat one more “palm” of fruits/veggies each day!  One family changed their evening snack to be a fruit and include that as part of their evening “wind down” routine.

Information provided by LiveWell Northwest Colorado.

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