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Fruits and veggies – building blocks for good health

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH) Tera Moorehead– June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and what better way to add more beneficial tools to our nutritional tool box than by focusing on fruits and vegetables. As we go through life our scenarios, environments and schedules may vary drastically. That’s why having some quick and easy go-to’s can help make it simpler and more sustainable to have healthy, beneficial options to help us stay feeling our best. Fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of nutrition – full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that not only fuel us but provide our body with some pretty amazing benefits. Having fruit and vegetables on hand to grab when you are feeling hungry and to fill your plate to help you feel full can be an easy, but often forgotten, way to stay on top of our nutrition game.

Fruits usually are easier and more convenient to consume as they are sweet and many can be easily put in a purse or bag for an on the go snack. The key is to shop for, clean, and have the fruit on hand so it is easily accessible – and make it as visible as possible. Many people find that if they have the more beneficial option on hand and ready to go, it is a gentle reminder to opt for that item first.

Sometimes it is hard to get enough vegetables but I have found that if the focus for the meal is on the vegetable first and not just an afterthought it can often help in increasing vegetable intake. One helpful tip could be to build your meals for the week around the vegetables you will be serving. For instance, when planning your week decide what vegetables you want to have that week and then plan the rest of the meal around it. Too often we do the opposite and focus on the other parts of the meal and have vegetables be an afterthought or sometimes they are forgotten altogether. Recommendations for daily vegetable intake vary based on your age and gender but for most adults the average is around no less than 3 cups a day.Adding vegetables into your eggs in the morning, or some leafy greens into a smoothie along with a cup at lunch and a cup at dinner can help get you close to or even meeting the recommendations. Don’t be afraid to have two different vegetables at dinner to keep things interesting and to fill your plate – variety is key when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Lastly, the more the merrier with vegetables so try adding vegetables as snacks or into dishes to increase your vegetable intake.

Fruits and vegetables sometimes are looked at as the “thing I should be eating” instead of as the amazing powerhouses they are that we are blessed and lucky enough to have to keep our bodies healthy and feeling our best. “Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. They provide key nutrients many of us don’t get enough of, such as calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C.”  So, it just makes sense to focus on these amazing tools to build a healthy plate and lifestyle that keeps us feeling and being our best.

Tera Moorehead is the Director of Community Outreach, Wellness and Philanthropy at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. With dual master’s degrees in nutrition and education, as well as a national board certified health and wellness coach, Tera shares her passion for health and wellness through various programs offered free to the community through RRH. Contact at 760-499-3825.