Today is National “Eat Your Veggies” Day!

by Lisa Bacon, Nutrition & Nonprofit Relations Supervisor

font-size

Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and today’s national holiday celebrates that advice. Vegetables are a key part of a healthy lifestyle. The Food Bank is proud to distribute millions of pounds of fresh produce to low income neighborhoods every month. Many of these families would not otherwise have access to fresh fruits and vegetables due to their high cost and limited availability.

The average person needs between four and five servings of vegetables a day. But what is a serving? A serving of vegetables could be two small bell peppers, 12 baby carrots, 20 cherry tomatoes, or 10 broccoli florets. Unfortunately, 75% of Americans are not eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. This disparity has been linked to the cost of fresh produce, the difficulty in preparing vegetables to eat, and the short shelf life of most vegetables. The Food Bank is working hard to reverse this trend, distributing over five million pounds of fresh produce throughout the county since July 1, 2012 and providing healthy recipes to teach clients how to use the produce they receive.

Although fresh is typically the best option, vegetables can also be purchased frozen or canned. Frozen and canned vegetables have a longer shelf life, making them more appealing to low income families who cannot afford to throw away food. Frozen vegetables maintain a high level of nutrition, as they are processed at the peak of freshness. Canned vegetables should be purchased in the low sodium variety, and rinsed before cooking or eating.

For more tools and information about eating healthy, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Here are a few of our favorite vegetable-based recipes that you can try at home:

Black Bean & Corn Pitas

Avocado Hummus

Red & Yellow Bell Pepper Omelets