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June is national fresh fruit and vegetables month


EAST LANSING, MI. – June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. While most of us know that eating more fruits and vegetables are important for good health, do we actually know how much we eat? Let’s take a mini inventory by using the free Start Simple with MyPlate app. Or you can track how many fruits and vegetables you eat by writing what you eat down on paper.     

Start tomorrow morning, if it’s a regular weekday.

• Track only three days.

• Don’t do anything different from what you would normally do.

• When tracking, be specific with quantities in measurable amounts (e.g., one medium apple, 12 grapes, one cup of watermelon, eight baby carrots). This makes it easier to be accurate.

• Record the amounts eaten for three days, starting from when you wake up until you go to bed.

• If you don’t have daily access to a computer, use your smart phone or record in writing, then capture later on your computer.

What you will likely learn is that you are not eating the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that only one in ten adults are getting enough fruits and vegetables. Visit the MyPlate website to explore the amounts recommended, and why eating fruits and vegetables are important. Don’t be discouraged by any shortcomings you may have eating fruits and vegetables; instead, take steps to increase your fruit and vegetable intake slowly, one serving at a time and increase steadily from there.

Michigan State University Extension recommends these tips to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption:

• Make a point of buying more fruits and vegetables.

• Purchase convenience sizes, if this will help you eat more fruits and vegetables.

• If you are budget conscious, package fruit or vegetables in snack size servings, such as a handful of cut up carrots or baby carrots, washed snap peas, or cubed watermelon and store in an airtight container or bag.

• Make a tray or plate of fresh fruit and/or vegetables and leave in the refrigerator, so you have a healthy snack available while fixing a meal, sitting in front of the television or just wanting to munch on something. 

• If you don’t enjoy all types of fruits and vegetables, experiment to find the ones you enjoy most and incorporate them into your diet.

• Include fruit in dishes such as yogurt, salads, cereal, ice cream and other desserts.

• Incorporate vegetables in dishes such as soups, stews, pies, wraps and sandwiches.

Remember that fruits and vegetables can help with your overall health in many ways. They can help prevent certain diseases like cancer and diabetes. They can help with obesity and weight control. They can improve your skin, nails and hair. There are many other benefits to getting enough fruits and vegetables.