Courtesy of Southeastern Idaho Public Health

Are you having a hard time eating your fruits and vegetables? The majority of Americans don’t get enough fruits and vegetables.

According to the 2013 Idaho Behavioral Risk Surveillance System Survey, only 17 percent of Idaho adults eat the amount of fruits and vegetables the government recommends, which is five servings a day. But, there’s help: the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (CDC) has a program called “Fruits & Veggies — More Matters.”

The program provides suggestions for adding more fruits and vegetables to meals through its website, fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. The website offers healthy recipes, serving ideas and shopping advice. It also includes tips for getting children involved and gives consumers the opportunity to share their own fun ideas online.

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber that benefit everyone and protect you from chronic diseases. People who consume fruits and vegetables with a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

Visit the “Fruits and Veggies — More Matters” website and follow these tips to be on your way to better health:

  • Be a good role model. Children are influenced by what their parents and caregivers do.
  • Make fruits and vegetables available and limit junk food. We all tend to take the path of least resistance. If healthy snacks are available, they will get eaten.
  • Make children part of meal planning and preparation.
  • Make it fun, particularly for young children. It only takes a few minutes, a few raisins and banana slices to turn an open-faced peanut butter sandwich into a piece of kid-pleasing art.
  • Get out the blender. Low-fat yogurts and canned, frozen or fresh fruits provide an infinite number of combinations for a quick breakfast or snack.
  • Keep it bite-sized. Young children may find a large piece of fruit or vegetable daunting.
  • Don’t make it a “big deal’ and keep trying. Very young children often will need to try a new food many times before accepting a new taste.
  • Be adventurous. Try a new fruit or vegetable once a week. Pair new fruits and vegetables with foods a child is already fond of. Try celery filled with peanut butter, dip sliced fruit in melted chocolate, or add baby spinach and sliced strawberries to a turkey sandwich.

Contact Tracy McCulloch, MHE, at (435) 239-5250 or visit siphidaho.org to learn more.