Spring is here and March is National Nutrition Month! The weather is getting nicer and the days are getting longer! Certain fruits and vegetables are already coming back into season. Buying produce when it is in season is not only good for your health, but usually easier on your wallet. Current guidelines state that one half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables so buying them when they are in season can definitely help you achieve this. Here is a list of what is currently in season in your grocery store.
|§ Artichoke§ Asparagus§ Broccoli
§ Spring peas
I recently put on a fruit and vegetable eating contest for the month of February for all Noble Hospital employees who wished to participate. Right away there was a tremendous response, with close to 70 individuals who signed up to participate. The goal was to raise blood pressure awareness. Since fruits and vegetable intake helps to decrease blood pressure, the focus was to eat more! Blood pressure readings were taken before and after the contest.
Participants kept track of their daily fruit and veggie servings for the whole month. Many of the participants never realized how little fruit and vegetable they ate until they started to keep track and increase intake. By the end of the contest, multiple participants had in fact, lowered their blood pressure. Not only that, but more health benefits were seen by the participants. One participant lost 15 pounds over the course of the month, just by increasing fruit and veggie intake! I have heard multiple comments on the improved gastrointestinal health, and how people felt better. Many participants said that their eating habits had changed for the better thanks to this contest! They now reach for a piece of fruit for a snack instead of “junk food”.
Another way to get more fruits and vegetables on your plate this spring/summer is to consider eating produce from local farms. There are many farms in this area that participate farmers’ Markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). A CSA allows the general public to purchase shares to the farm. A share usually includes a variety of produce that was picked that week and is set aside for you over the course of the growing season. It’s a great way to support local farms and help the environment by eating in season and local. It is also a great way to help yourself to try new foods and eat healthier. For more information about CSAs and farmers’ markets in your area, check out www.localharvest.org