Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a nutritious balanced diet. Not only do they contain important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium, but they also contain fiber. These three important components in fruits and vegetables help in reducing the risk of many health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
It is recommended to have about 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables per day. I would like to point out that the fruit intake is lower than the vegetable intake recommendation. This is due to the sugar content that is not as abundant in vegetables. There are many types and forms of fruits and vegetables so it is important to note that not all of them contain the same nutrients. Because of this, it is important to have a wide variety in your diet. The more colorful your plate the better!
Vitamins & Minerals (Common)
Vitamin C – A water-soluble vitamin that helps with the growth, development, and repair of body tissues.
Vitamin A – A fat-soluble vitamin that is key for good vision, cell growth, and a healthy immune system
Potassium – A mineral that helps regulate fluid balance and electrical activity of the heart and other muscles.
Magnesium – A mineral that helps in muscle contraction, energy production, and nutrient digestion.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be fully digested. It is important for your digestive tract and colon health. This is due to its cleaning and bulking properties. Fiber is not only important in digestion, but also weight management, and blood sugar regulation. Foods high in fiber tend to be more filling and take longer to eat. Digestion is slowed aiding in weight management and blood sugar regulation. Ways to increase fiber intake is to eat the skins of fruits and vegetables when applicable.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Frozen fruits and vegetables contain the same (if not more) nutrients than the fresh variety.
- Canned fruits and vegetables in their own juice and low sodium are healthy alternatives to the fresh variety.
- Fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually less expensive.
In this day and age it can be difficult to find the time to incorporate these beneficial foods into your everyday diet. I am here today to share some helpful tips on how to do just that.
- Cut up raw vegetables and dip in low-fat dressing for snack
- Breakfast smoothie with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries, and a banana
- Make fruit your dessert
- Add vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and bell pepper to spice up your sandwich
- Add fruit to yogurt for a parfait
Students who live on campus are not lost to these helpful hints. Some of them may not be applicable to your living situation, but there are many dining locations on campus that can provide you with different sources of fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your diet. Visit TTU Dining Locations for more information.
Web sites to use:
Created by Heather Robertson, TTU Graduate and Dietetic Intern
Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD firstname.lastname@example.org