June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Unlike National Junk Food Day, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month is something to celebrate without guilt, remorse or flat-out denial. Without having to worry about being “bad,” you can indulge and enjoy. Standing certainly did.
We also learned a few things.
Fruit and vegetables are essential for good health. They provide vital nutrients and can help guard against chronic illness and obesity. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is one of our nation’s top priorities. For most of us though, six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day seems daunting. Who can eat that much anyway? Even if you could, would you want to?
America’s agricultural industry is one group that thinks you can and will want to eat more fruit and vegetables. Using modern production practices, America’s agricultural industry continues their path of innovation by bringing improved varieties as well as new products to market. Fruits and vegetables with improved flavor profiles such as “sweeter” sweet corn, broccoli with an improved nutrition profile and even fruits and vegetables that are easier and more convenient to eat, such as seedless watermelon are examples. Fruit and vegetable innovation is enhancing taste, nutrition, choice and convenience – all keys to increased consumption. The industry is also working on fruit and vegetable varieties with increased resistance to pests and diseases to boost yields.
The Center for Disease Control has a website dedicated to Fruit and Vegetables that can help make those choices easier by providing an online tool to help determine just how many servings of fruit and vegetables you need, and show how much one serving truly is. For example, a medium banana counts as two servings of fruit! The site also provides real world suggestions for incorporating these healthful foods into your diet and no, you are not going to have to grate zucchini into your entrees and try to pass it off as spices like my Mom did, though you are welcome to. The American Nutrition and Dietetic Association and the International Food Information Council are also good sources of information.
At Standing, we enjoyed our fruit and vegetable feast. No one cut a carrot in half or worried over a possible expanding waistline. We did move the donuts out of the way to take this picture, though.