It's National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month!
As spring makes way for summer, the flowerbeds are rich with vibrant colors. All those reds and purples and oranges surrounded by deep greens create a rainbow of color—which is exactly how your lunch and dinner plate should look! While chicken and beef are often the staple in most of our recipes, it’s important to remember the fruits and vegetables! Rich in natural vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, fruits and vegetables are an important part of every meal.
So important, in fact, they have their own month! June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables month, a celebration dedicated to educating and encouraging healthy eating. Fruits are nature’s candy—full of flavor and easy to eat without much preparation. Berries and citrus fruits are full of Vitamin C as well as Folic Acid, two important nutrients for expecting mothers. Vegetables also hold many of our most-needed nutrients. Leafy greens are full of folic acid and calcium. MyPlate recommends that we eat two cups of fruit daily and between two and three cups of vegetables daily.
Many people hesitate to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables because they can be very expensive. There are ways to eat affordably while still being healthy:
-Always buy in season
When produce is in season there is a larger supply available, which lowers the prices. Summer produce include bananas, bell peppers, berries, peaches, melons, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini. When there’s a sale at the supermarket, buy in bulk and freeze what you don’t use.
-Buy Fresh or Frozen over canned
While canned food can be less expensive, there are often preservatives that make it higher in sodium. Buying frozen is a great alternative that is affordable, tastes great, and is just as good for you as fresh.
When you buy local, you’re supporting local business and your neighbors. Unlike a big supermarket, they are more likely to have competitive prices (and better tasting fruits and vegetables). There are markets almost every day of the week. There are also markets that take WIC and SNAP vouchers. The HEAL markets will double your vouchers! Follow them on Facebook or go to their website for more information—or stop by the market and one of their volunteers will be happy to assist you. Soon, Healthier Moms and Babies will be hosting cooking classes conducted by HEAL. These classes will educate our moms on incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables.
This month, we’ll be featuring a different recipe each week to highlight some of the delicious, healthy, and easy ways to use fresh fruits and vegetables. Follow our Instagram for all the updates!