Nutrition & Recipes: Eat a Variety of Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains and Lean Proteins
At least five servings of colorful fruits and vegetables each day are part of a healthy, balanced diet promoted by registered dietitians throughout BJC and by many other nutritionists.

To encourage everyone to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, the Produce for Better Health Foundation launched a national effort called Fruits and Veggies -- More Matters, which provides information about the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, information about serving sizes, and hundreds of recipes you can search by category of food or by ingredients -- by specifying a particular fruit or vegetable. And you can learn about 50 healthy foods that cost less than $1 per pound

Schnucks supermarkets have continuously promoted the health benefits of produce and partnered with BJC to offer employees various coupons for discounted produce items. The coupons are offered periodically through BJC's employee newspaper, BJC Today.

"From what we know today, nutrients found in green fruits and vegetables seem to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease and some types of cancer," says Ronna Croft, registered dietitian, BJC Community Health Literacy Services. "And as a general rule, the darker the green, the greater the amount of beneficial nutrients." Croft offers these tips on how to build a better salad:

  • Supplement iceberg lettuce with deep-green leaves, for example, spinach, Romaine or a spring mix
  • Add more nutrients -- and color -- to your green salad with vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes or carrots
  • For a variety of textures, add garbanzo beans, nuts or sunflower seeds rather than croutons
  • Beware of fat-laden items (cheese, bacon bits or eggs) and use them sparingly, if at all; lean meat choices, such as turkey, offer a good source of protein, but processed meats, such as salami, add more fat
  • Watch dressing choices and amounts; oil-based dressings are better for your heart; many light and low-fat dressings are available; with all dressings -- especially regular dressings with a higher fat content -- use as little as possible

"While five a day is a good place to start," says Croft, "don't hesitate to add more produce choices to your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrients that are important to good health."

Get information on the Slow Food Movement in St. Louis and Slow Food Katy Trail in Columbia, which are part of an international, educational organization devoted to promoting fresh, local and sustainably produced food; biodiversity; and the preservation of food traditions, as well as celebrating the pleasures of the table.

See how the Edible Schoolyard affects children's food choices.

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