July 12, 2008


Does eating six pounds of produce a week sound like a lot? Adding more vegetables and fruit to your day isn’t very difficult. Because so much produce can be eaten raw, it provides an almost instant snack. Another effortless way to increase consumption is to take larger portions. Or, you may be able to meet the goal by adding these foods to your diet in small increments; for example, whenever you eat a sandwich, make sure to include lettuce, tomato and sprouts. Although less common, sliced cucumbers and thin slices of raw beets are both nice in sandwiches. When preparing sandwich fillings, add chopped celery, sweet red and green pepper, cucumber or similar vegetables. Always include raw vegetable sticks and perhaps some fresh or dried fruit in lunch boxes.

Liven up pizza and pasta by topping them with artichokes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, shredded greens, and such. Instead of "chips and dips" offer raw or lightly steamed vegetables for dipping. Instead of jelly, pair peanut butter or other nutbutters with sliced pears, apples, bananas or berries. Snack on dried fruit instead of candy. If you bake, stir berries, pears, apples, corn kernels or shredded carrots or zucchini into favorite muffin recipes. Likewise for pancakes.

People who want to limit sugar consumption can reduce or even skip fruit altogether, so long as they compensate with more vegetables. In any case, it is better to eat fruit than to drink it.

Whenever possible, choose vegetables and fruit that support the concepts of organic and sustainable agriculture. Organically raised vegetables and fruit, particularly when locally grown, are free of applied pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, safer for farm workers and contribute to a cleaner environment.

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