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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

The Produce for Better Health Foundation has begun a new campaign, "fruits and veggies -- more matters" to promote produce consumption. Apparantly the "5 A Day THE COLOR WAY" message (also developed by the Produce for Better Health Foundation) was too complicated or too intimidating (what with all those capital letters and whatnot). Maybe the PBH feels the emphasis on more, rather than on 5 servings of produce daily causes less guilt or oppositional feelings, and will result in increased produce purchases.

Of course, "5" is the magic number only for those getting about 2,200 Calories per day. Most of us need less. It is pretty simple to find out what you need. The next step is just figuring out when to eat all that produce. Don't wait for dinner -- it will just be too much food. And the TOO MUCH FOOD diet gets old as quickly as any other fad diet.

Here's how my favorite 8-year-old typically gets 3 1/2 cups of fruit and vegetables in a day:

  • A banana at mid-morning snack
  • Half a cup of applesauce and 10 mini-carrots with lunch
  • Half a cup of broccoli, half a cup of spaghetti sauce, and one cup of salad at dinner.

I should get 4.5 cups a day, so I can add to this:

  • 1/4 cup of raisins or 1/2 cup orange juice at breakfast, or half an orange after dinner
  • Increase broccoli to 1 cup, spaghetti sauce to 3/4 cup, salad to 1 1/2 cups.

This is all pretty easy to remember (even with little details like dried fruit counting twice as much and fluffy salad greens counting half as much), and even the 4-year-old is getting pretty good at food choices. Do we need more?