Summer is officially here and this is the time for eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables is a positive step towards better health and weight management. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics used a quick and easy way to remember the importance of fruit and vegetables tips. There are 26 letters in the alphabet – if you use one of these tips every two weeks you will have a much healthier year!
A – Apple – Keep a crisp one in your refrigerator – it will be ready for a sweet snack.
B – Banana – A banana can make a breakfast on the run, snack or a dessert.
C – Carrots – Buy carrot matchsticks or grated carrots and use them on tossed salads.
D – Dried Fruit – Keep raisins on hand for snacks and cereal toppers. Try cranberries, blueberries, dates or plums.
E- EVERY DAY – EVERY MEAL – Shoot to have at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal, every day!
F – Fruit! – Keep plenty of fruit on hand so you enjoy it every day.
G – Grapes are available all year. Wash and put in a bowl; no muss, no fuss!
H – Herbs – Use fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley and basil to brighten your salads, soups and pasta dishes.
I – Italian – Don’t know what to make for dinner? Go ITALIAN! Pasta with tomato sauce is always a good idea. If you really want to earn a nutrition star, add some mixed vegetables to the sauce.
J – Juice – 100% fruit juice is a good option when on the go.
K – Kale – This nutrition powerhouse is easy to use; use it in pasta, stir-fry and soup dishes.
L – Lettuce – Keep a bag of lettuce on hand at all times for salads; try assorted greens.
M- Melon are low in calories, delicious to eat and good sources of fiber.
N – Nuts – Sprinkle a little on your salads, yogurt parfaits and fruit salads for crunch,
O – Oranges are very versatile and they keep for a long time in your refrigerator. Eat them plain or toss them into salads.
P – Potatoes – Keep potatoes on hand for baked potatoes, baked potato salad and quick mashed potatoes
Q – Quick – The microwave will cook most vegetables very quickly!
R- Raspberries are a delicious treat that can be used in cereal, yogurt and fruit salads.
S- Strawberries – Fresh strawberries are a delight. Remove their tops, cut them in half and store them in the fridge. They will be ready to go for snacks, to top cereal and yogurt.
T – Tomatoes – Grape tomatoes are great for kids and singles; they keep well in the refrigerator and requires no slicing.
U- Ultimate – The ultimate topping for salads is oil and vinegar. These are cheap, come in fun varieties and most important, don’t contain lots of added sodium the way commercial dressings do. Use oil sparingly!
V- Vegetables – Purchase an assortment of frozen vegetables. Keep these on hand for easy meals – stir-fry dishes, pasta, soups and more. They requires no chopping, peeling, or dicing and they have a longer shelf life than fresh.
W- Watermelon is available almost all year and it comes seedless. too. keep it sliced for a cool treat.
X – eXplore - Explore in eating and drink new fruits and vegetables at least one to two times per week.
Y- Yams - contain antioxidants, which are compounds in plants that protect your cells from damage. Replace your usual baked potato with a baked sweet potato and you'll get more fiber and vitamin A.
Z – Zucchini– This delicious summer squash can be used in muffins, omelets, stir-fry dishes and kabobs.
So enjoy your fresh fruits and vegetables today and have a great summer!