Eat your fruits and vegetables. You’ve likely heard this statement since childhood. Research shows why it is good advice:
- Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
- Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.
During September, the Wellness Department at the UVM Medical Center is issuing a Five-a-Day Challenge to employees. The challenge is to eat 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. While this campaign is for employees, this is also a good time for everyone to think about what they are eating and to try to make changes if needed.
What constitutes a serving of fruit or vegetables? In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. For fruits, 1 cup of fruit or 100 percent fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit group. For more information on fruit and vegetable serving sizes see these two charts:
One step to modifying unhealthy eating habits is to examine your current eating habits. There are smartphone apps and web sites that can help you log your food intake and analyze what you are eating. If you search the internet for “food tracking app reviews” or “food tracking website reviews,” you can find many tools. Some apps to try out include Fooducate, Calorie Counter Pro, and MyFitnessPal.
Not only do we need to know what we are eating we also need to know what we should be eating. The internet is a great source of information on healthy eating habits and nutrition. One good source of online nutrition information is Nutrition.gov, a collection of resources from across multiple government agencies. Nutrition.gov has information on menu planning, dietary supplements, recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals, calorie tables, food safety tips, and food recalls.
After you know what you should be eating then the next step is preparing the food in a nutritious and delicious manner. There are a number of online menu planning and recipe websites including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the recipe section of nutrition.gov, or the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
We have here in our collection a number of recipe books for preparing nutritious meals. Among the many books we have are:
- “The American Cancer Society Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook”
- “The Eating Well Diet, Authored by Jean Harvey-Berino, Chair of Nutrition and Food Science at UVM and based on the VTrim Weight-Loss Program”
- “Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories”
So remember, eat your fruits and vegetables! The Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center has other resources about healthy eating. For more information on this topic or any other health topics contact us.
Alan Lampson, MLS, is a medical librarian and the lead of the Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center at the UVM Medical Center. He has been a librarian for 29 years and has his Level II designation as Consumer Health Information Specialist.