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Provider Focus

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Fruits and Veggies - More Matters

Fruits and Veggies - More Matters

Mahaska Health Partnership Registered Dietitian Lea Rice encourages you to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. September is National Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month.

“The visual used to illustrate dietary guidelines was recently changed from a pyramid to a plate,” Rice said. “This is to demonstrate that half of a person’s plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables at every meal. A quarter of the plate is for meat and the other quarter is for whole grains.”

According to the Fruits and Veggies – More Matters organization, people should eat fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Rice explained, “When you consume many different colors, you are ensuring that you are providing your body with valuable nutrients. For example, dark green fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and calcium while orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain potassium and vitamin C.

“These nutrients can contribute to lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, lower risk of certain cancers and promote collagen formation to name a few,” Rice said.

One of the most common concerns Rice said she hears from families is the cost of buying fresh produce. “All forms of fruits and vegetables are good for you so it doesn’t matter if they are canned, frozen or fresh.”

Rice suggested visiting fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org to find great recipes and other tips on how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. “A great way to get more of these power foods every day is to have them readily available. That is the great thing about fruits and vegetables; they can be washed and left out on the counter or in a bowl in the fridge ready for people to grab and snack on.”

Another way to save money is to buy fresh produce when it is in season. According to the organization, although most fresh produce is available year round, it is much cheaper when it is in a season. They also suggest making a weekly menu and shopping list.

 “By developing a plan for incorporating fruits and vegetables into your meals before you go to the store, it will ensure you will have healthy foods on hand for you and your family while helping you maintain your budget so food doesn’t go to waste,” Rice said.

Rice is available fulltime at MHP to provide inpatient and outpatient counseling for individuals trying to lose weight, those with diabetes or those who just want to learn ways to live a healthier life. For an appointment with Rice, call 672-3303. To find out more about how MHP is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.