National Nutrition Month

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Making Fruits & Vegetables the Easy Choice

March is National Nutrition Month, and as it draws to a close, we still need to keep in mind healthy eating concepts.  In Texas, three out of four deaths are attributed to a chronic disease.  However, studies show an intake of at least two and a half cups of vegetables and fruits per day as part of a healthy eating plan can reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

Lifestyle is hectic – I speak from experience!  However, increasing fruits and vegetables can be easy.  Here are a few tips for making fruits and vegetables the easy choice:

1)      Choose to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. The rest of the plate should be one-quarter grains and one-quarter protein foods with low-fat dairy on the side.  MyPlate is a guide to making a healthy meal.  However, not every meal will look like MyPlate.  For example, a sandwich may not fit in each portion of the plate, but making a sandwich with whole grain bread, lean protein, a slice of low-fat cheese, and adding lots of vegetables with a side of fruit make a health plate.

2)      Choose a variety of colors.  The colors in fruits and vegetables are not just to make them look pretty – those colors pack a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals, so be sure to vary the colors on your plate.

3)      Choose whole fruits and vegetables over juice.  Children and adults eat most of their fruits and vegetables in the form of fruit juice, which can contain added sugars and make it higher in calories.  Choosing whole fruits and vegetables provides fiber, vitamins and minerals.

4)      Choose to prep your snacks ahead of time.  Busy schedules can sometimes mean reaching for unhealthy snacks.  Place easy grab-and-go snacks, such as grapes, strawberries, or carrots in a spot in the refrigerator where you can see them.  This may help limit choosing less healthful snacks.

5)      Choose to make fruits and vegetables exciting.  Children learn from watching you.  Making fruits and vegetables part of a child’s healthy eating pattern establishes positive behaviors early.  Try having a fruit and veggie contest.  It can be a simple game of naming fiving fruits!

6)      Choose to flavor your water.  Flavored drinks are in every grocery store.  However, they can be full of added calories.  Make your own flavored water by freezing dices fruits or veggies and adding them to your water.  When you finish your water, have the fruit and vegetable as a snack.

7)      Choose fruit and vegetables to start the day.  Fruits can be an easy choice at breakfast.  However, mix in some vegetables, too!  Try adding spinach to your eggs, avocado to your toast, or tomatoes to a breakfast sandwich.

Dinner Tonight

If you are not familiar with Dinner Tonight, you are missing out!  Nutrition tips, cooking demonstrations, recipes, and more are included in this web link.  Sign-up is free, and you’ll receive informative tidbits of information each week – plus you can search the recipe section for healthy and delicious recipes to fit your need.  To sign up, go to http://dinnertonight.tamu.edu.  You’ll be glad you did!

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, March 31:  Taste of Home Cooking Show, Civic Center, doors open at 6:00 p.m. to view exhibits, show starts at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $10.  Be sure to stop by the AgriLife Extension exhibit.  Door prizes will be given throughout the evening.
  • Tuesday, March 31:  Home Vegetable Gardening Workshop, 6:30 p.m., Ag Workers’ Building, 957 Connally Street, cost $10.  Food preservation information will also be available.
  • Tuesday, April 7:  55+ Health Fair, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the ROC (Recreation Outreach Center), 115 Putman Street.  Visit with exhibitors, pick up valuable information, and be entered into a drawing for over 40 door prizes!  Be sure to drop by the AgriLife Extension exhibit!
  • Friday, April 10:  Master Wellness Volunteer Spring Luncheon for all trained Master Wellness Volunteers, 12:00 noon, Extension Office.
  • Friday, April 17:  Homeowners’ Aerobic System Certification Training, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Ag Workers’ Building, 957 Connally, cost $100 which includes materials and lunch.  Please call our office, 903-885-3443, to sign up.
  • Saturday, April 18:  Kids’ Safe Saturday, Buford Park, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Games, prizes, food, and exhibits!  Be sure to stop by the AgriLife Extension exhibit to make a Sun Bracelet!  Targeted toward families with children ages 12 and under.

Closing Thought

Attitude is being content with all the many things in which you have been blessed.

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Author: Staff Reporter

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