Friday, January 7, 2011

Lookie What I Won

I recently participated in a Fruits & Vegetable Challenge at work through our Wellness Council and I won a $50.00 gift card to Whole Foods.  I really like that store, but the food is rather expensive, so this gives me an opportunity to test out a few things, without breaking the budget.  Who knows I may find something that I just have to have always (wink wink).

The goal of the program was:
Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day from November 1st to December 24th.  You were required to keep track of your daily intake of produce and the prizes were:

1) Farm to Work Produce Basket
2) Cookbook: Food to Live By, author: Myra Goodman
3) $50 Gift Card to Whole Foods

The American Cancer Society recommends eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day to help prevent cancer. These foods contain important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants and are usually low in calories. In general, those with the most color - purple, green, red, yellow, and orange -- have the most nutrients.

Eating at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day may not be that hard to do when you look at how small one serving really is:

1/2 cup of fruit
1 medium piece of fruit
1/4 cup of dried fruit
1 cup of leafy vegetables
1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables

Trying to visualize the serving sizes?
1 medium apple or orange: the size of a tennis ball
1 cup vegetables or fruit: the size of a baseball
1 medium sweet potato: the size of a computer mouse
1 cup of dark green lettuce: 4 large leaves

Tips to fit more fruits and vegetables into your day:
• Try filling half your plate with vegetables or fruit at each meal.
• Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet.
• Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
• Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
• Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels.
• Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
• Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish.
• Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table
• Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips -- and less messy.
• When cooking vegetables, make 2-3 times more than you need and immediately store the extra for tomorrow. It will save time later.
Eating the fruits and vegetables was no problem at all as I use certain fruits as my sweet for the day and the vegetables are pretty much served at each dinner meal and sometimes used as a snack.  The problem was the tracking (as eating them was second nature), but I had to stop and track it or I would forget.  On the weekends, I had to send myself a message to remember to log it when I got to work.  I am so glad that I participated in the program and overall I won for something that I do anyway.  Tooooooo cooooool.

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