The holiday season is over, but somehow the experiences of years past didn’t help remind us that overindulgence during the holiday can quickly add excess pounds. A scenario many of us relive every year. However, no matter how far we have strayed from our healthy eating routine, now is the time to get back on track.
Holiday fare is typically sparse when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Unless you consider apple and sweet potato pies as fruits and vegetables. Dessert pies are the extra foods we should eat occasionally, compared to anytime foods like apples and sweet potatoes.
As you move from holiday mode to healthy mode, consider a diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables, as part of a well-balanced meal plan. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, providing significant amounts of health promoting nutrients for few calories compared to energy-dense foods that are higher-calorie with less nutrients, such as apple and sweet potato pies. Most fruits and vegetables are low in fat and sodium, and are cholesterol-free. Nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables provide generous amounts of vitamins A and C, folate, dietary fiber, and potassium. They all play a key role in helping to reduce health problems.
- Eating a healthy diet rich in certain types of vegetables and fruits may reduce risk for heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancers.
- Particular vegetables and fruits that are rich in potassium may help lower blood pressure, reduce risk of developing kidney stones, and decrease bone loss.
- Consuming fiber-rich vegetables and fruits may help reduce risk for heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, as well as help reduce constipation and diverticulosis.
Make these “superfoods” part of your plate every day! An easy way to plan healthy meals is to start with fruits and vegetables, which should fill at least half your plate. Click here for more information about fruits and vegetables located on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Choose MyPlate website. The other two sections of your plate should represent whole grains and protein foods. Begin with some of your favorites and add new choices to enhance your meals and your palate.