I Pledge Allegiance to My … Health!

Insider's Viewpoint: Nutrition Experts, Save Mart

The 4th of July commemorates the adoption of our Declaration of Independence from England and the birth of Democracy. This birthday of the United States can suggest a new beginning and a freedom to choose healthy foods! We all know that fruits and vegetables should make up a large portion of our diet. They are low in calories (good!), and high in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber (even better!). Experts suggest that we eat four to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Eating four to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is difficult for many people… busy schedules, eating on the run, the temptation of junk foods, all conspiring to keep us from getting enough fruits and vegetables into our diets.

The Solutions

1. Make Fruits and Vegetables Convenient at Home
Apples, pears, bananas, oranges and cherry tomatoes don’t need refrigeration. Keep fruits and vegetables in plain view on your countertop or table. When snack time rolls around it’s easier to grab a piece of fruit or a handful of cherry tomatoes. (Conversely, make sure the cookie jar and the candy bars are kept out of sight.)

2. Add Fruits and Vegetables to Sandwiches, Salads and on the Side
Eating a salad can give you several servings of fruits and vegetables. Start with some lettuce and add sliced tomatoes, apples, pears, berries, celery, cucumbers, sprouts, raw green beans, broccoli or cauliflower. With so many combinations, you can eat a different salad every day. Eat salads as a meal once or twice each week. When you make a sandwich, be sure to add lettuce and a couple of thick tomato slices. Take the rest of the tomato, slice it up and serve it on the side. Add extra vegetables to soup and stew recipes.

3. Try a 4th of July Four-some of Summer “SuperFoods”
SuperFoods are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, healthy fats or fiber, and usually low in calories. When the days of summer get hot, you probably don’t want to get bogged down with heavy foods, so here are four SuperFood ideas perfect for light summer eating.

  • BLUEBERRIES are a good source of vitamins C and E, and they contain large amounts of antioxidants called anthocyanins that give them their dark blue color. Blueberries are delicious added to morning cereal or sprinkled atop a summery salad. Try a low-calorie blueberry yogurt smoothie instead of a fattening ice cream drink.
  • SPINACH is rich in vitamins, minerals and lutein which may help in preventing cardiovascular disease and age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Cooked spinach makes a nice side dish for dinner, and you can use fresh leaves in a cool summer spinach and walnut salad or instead of lettuce on a sandwich or in a wrap.
  • BROCCOLI is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and contains phytochemicals called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. Enjoy broccoli in a stir-fry, raw with veggie dip or as part of a summertime salad. Serve steamed broccoli with garlic as a “SuperFoodie” side dish.
  • TOMATOES are rich in vitamins, fiber, lycopene (associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease), and low in calories. Use tomatoes in sauces or soups; add sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes to salads. Enjoy a low-calorie marinated tomato salad with basil.

Oh-h-h, say, can you … EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES? YES I CAN!

Sharon Blakely, Food and Nutrition Supervisor
Erin Tassey, Nutrition Program Spet
LeAnne Heckenlaible, Nutrition Program Spet
Save Mart/Lucky/Food Maxx Supermarkets

Fruit & Vegetable Recipes
Video Center: Selection, Storage, and Preparation of Fruits & Vegetables.


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