Seems no month goes by without it being named for some special event or program.
September is no different. The month, best known for Labor Day, doesn’t get to sit around and be lazy. Not this month. Not only is September, it is also “Fruit and Veggies—More Matters Month.”
The Fruit and Veggies—More Matters Month is a public health initiative that was started to encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables, whether they are fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice, according to the organization. The campaign was created by the Produce for Better Health Foundation in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In observance of the month, the DuPage County Health Department offered a number of reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables:
- Color and texture: Fruits and veggies add color, texture and appeal to your plate.
- Convenience: Fruits and veggies are nutritious in any form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice.
- Fiber: Fruits and veggies provide fiber that helps fill you up and keep your digestive system happy.
- Low in calories: Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories.
- May reduce disease risk: Eating plenty of fruits and veggies may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
- Vitamins and minerals: Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.
- Variety: Many varieties of fruits and veggies are available so there is always something new to try.
- Quick, natural snack: Fruits and veggies are nature’s treat and easy to grab for a snack.
- Fun to eat: Some crunch, some squirt, some you peel and some even grow right in your own backyard.
In addition, the Produce for Better Health Foundation is offering some healthy recipes for people to try in honor of the healthy eating month. Find some of those recipes below. Local blogger Lynn Dugan regularly writes about food and shares health recipes in her Glen Ellyn Patch Blog. .
New Wave Chicken Salad Wraps
Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
1 ½ cups cooked chicken breast (~8 oz raw)
1 cup carrots, shredded
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 teaspoons garlic herb seasoning
¼ cup reduced fat mayonnaise
16 large green leaf lettuce leaves, removed from head
Instructions: Combine all ingredients except lettuce leaves and mix well. Place equal amount of salad mixture on each lettuce leaf. Roll from one end of the lettuce leaf to the middle. Fold in the sides and continue to roll. Secure with a toothpick. Arrange on a platter and serve.
½ cup of Vegetables per Serving
Fruit and/or Veggie Colors: Green, Yellow, Orange, Red
Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 92, total fat: 2.3g, saturated fat: 0.6g, % calories from fat: 21%, % calories from saturated fat: 5%, protein: 10g, carbohydrates: 9g, cholesterol: 22 mg, dietary fiber: 2g, sodium: 115mg
Each serving provides: An excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of vitamin C and folate.
Crazy, Curly Broccoli Bake
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
1½ cups whole wheat corkscrew pasta, dry
3 cups broccoli, frozen, chopped
1can (10.5 oz.) low-fat cream of broccoli soup, condensed
½ cup skim milk
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend
Preheat oven to 350o. Cook pasta according to package directions. Place frozen broccoli in large microwave safe and oven proof dish and cook for 2 minutes on high. Coarsely chop cooked broccoli. Mix soup with skim milk, and add to chopped broccoli. Add cooked pasta and mix. Top with bread crumbs and seasoning blend. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until heated through.
½ Cup of Vegetables per Serving
Fruit and/or Veggie Colors: Green
Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 164, total fat: 2.2g, saturated fat: 1.0g, % calories from fat: 11%, % calories from saturated fat: 3%, protein: 8g, carbohydrates: 31g, cholesterol: 2mg, dietary fiber: 5g, sodium: 351mg
Each serving provides: An excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, and a good source of vitamin A, magnesium and folate.
Avocado Garden Salad
Preparation time: 20 minutes or less
6 cups mixed salad greens
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch cubes
5 green onions, chopped
1 small cucumber, partially peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
⅓ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 large ripe California avocado, peeled
Thoroughly mix bite-sized salad greens, tomatoes, onions, and cucumber in a large serving bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Peel and cut avocado in half. Remove pit and slice into thin wedges, about ⅛-inch thick. Arrange slices on top of salad like a starburst. Brush remaining lemon juice and serve immediately.
2 Cups of Fruits and Vegetables per Serving
Fruit and/or Veggie Colors: Green, Yellow, Red
Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 81, total fat: 4.8g, saturated fat: 0.7g, % of calories from fat: 47%, % of calories from saturated fat: 7%, protein: 3g, carbohydrates: 10g, cholesterol: 0mg, dietary fiber: 5g, sodium: 216mg
Each serving provides: An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and folate, and a good source of potassium and fiber.
Bookworm Apple Bark
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2½ tablespoons golden or black raisins
1½ tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries
1 small bunch of fresh chives or fresh parsley (optional plate garnish)
Cut apple into four quarters, starting at the stem. Remove the core by cutting away to leave a flat surface on the apple quarter. Be careful not to cut too much of the edible portion of the apple away. Drop and slightly spread the peanut butter on apple quarters. Mix together the raisins and dried cranberries then sprinkle on peanut butter. Cut chives into one inch pieces and garnish.
1 Cup of Fruit per Serving
Fruit and/or Veggie Colors: Purple, Green, Red
Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 272, total fat: 8.1g, saturated fat: 1.5g, % calories from fat: 25%, % calories from saturated fat: 5%, protein: 5g, carbohydrates: 50g, cholesterol: 0mg, dietary fiber: 6g, sodium: 79mg
Each serving provides: An excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C.
Recipes were developed for Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) by Chef Mark Goodwin, CEC, CNC. All PBH endorsed recipes meet nutrition standards that maintain fruits and vegetables as healthy foods.
Recipe Source: Produce for Better Health Foundation