Fruit & Veggies—More Matters Month (Plus Recipes!)

shutterstock_144537737Are you getting enough fruit and vegetables in your daily diet? How about the rest of your family? September is the perfect month to take a good look at what we’re putting on our plates and think about making a few simple changes for lifelong health.

Fruit & Veggies—More Matters® is a nationwide health initiative aimed at helping families and individuals eat more fresh produce for optimal nutrition and wellness. Not only are fruit and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals, but most are naturally low in sugar and calories, chock full of fiber, and provide endless possibilities for nutritious meals and snacks! Here are two of our favorite recipes to help you get started:

Greens-on-the-Go Juice
Serves 1
⅓ small cucumber
2 ribs celery
1 cup trimmed kale
1 cup baby spinach
3 sprigs parsley
Juice from 1 lemon wedge
¼ Granny Smith apple

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender or juicer. Blend until smooth; pour and enjoy!

Rise and Shine Fruit & Nut Parfait
Serves 1
¼ cup fresh strawberries, sliced
¼ cup fresh blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple with skin, cored and chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup raw almonds,* chopped
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 mint leaves

Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, gently fold fruit, nuts, and cinnamon into yogurt. Transfer to an individual serving dish; garnish with mint leaves and serve.

*All nuts should be soaked overnight.

Simple End-of-Summer Veggie Soup
Serves 8
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup chopped green beans
½ cup sliced carrots
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
5 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups purified water
One 15-ounce can light kidney beans, drained
Two 16-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in celery, vegetables, and herbs. Add broth, water, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes (or until cabbage is wilted). Serve hot.


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Stand Up for Your Health! (Literally)

Lady with shovelStudies tell us that sitting for long periods of time throughout the day is unhealthy, and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to obesity, heart disease, and even premature death. The good news? According to a recent Australian study, simply replacing a couple hours of sitting with standing can provide big benefits.

In a study involving nearly 800 middle-aged to elderly men and women, researchers found that standing up more during the day has a positive impact on both blood sugar and cholesterol levels, which in turn supports a healthy heart. Specifically, they determined that replacing just two hours of sitting with standing:

  • lowered average triglycerides by 11 percent;
  • lowered blood sugar levels by 2 percent; and
  • increased HDL and lowered LDL levels in the body.

Further, when sitting was replaced with walking or running, even greater benefits were seen. Triglyceride and blood sugar levels dropped even more, and overall body mass index fell by 11 percent on average. Waist size also decreased by an average of 3 inches.

Study authors stress that standing more frequently is a simple change most people can incorporate into their daily lives. At home, activities such as cooking, talking on the phone, or paying bills can be done on your feet. And in many offices, standing desks and chairless meetings are being incorporated into workplace health initiatives.


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