Catch the Wave! Hospitals in New York are actually prescribing fruits and vegetables and are helping families to get them by giving them “health bucks” reports Dr. Lisa Bajpayee. These health bucks can be spent at local farmers’ markets to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Wholesome Wave is the organization behind this experiment and they’ve had some great results.
New York joined 7 other states testing this plan. They found that families kept their clinic appointments because they knew they were getting these bucks. Plus families report using 93% more fruits and vegetables. And over 37% of the children participating decreased their body mass index, or BMI.
Why is this important? Because eating more “fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and even overall mortality,” says Dr. Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic. And that is important to us in Grundy County.
True, we are not in a place where our doctors are writing prescriptions for fruits and vegetables! But here are affordable ways to get these wholesome foods so you can increase the amounts you are eating:
Buy frozen: Research has shown that frozen fruits and vegetables have the same amount of nutrition as fresh produce. Frozen produce is often half the price of fresh and won’t go bad as quickly.
Buy in season: Food grown in season is cheaper and tastes better. Now’s a good time to buy peaches, blueberries, corn, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. And getting these foods locally means they are fresh and higher in nutrition than things trucked in from other states or even shipped from other countries.
Grow your own: Growing your own fruits and veggies can be very satisfying plus it tastes so much better! If you don’t have room for even a little garden, you can grow a tomato plant in a pot on the porch.
And finally, buy in bulk: It’s cheaper to buy fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, grapefruit, potatoes and onions by the bag, not by the piece. You’ll fill more lunch bags and spread the cost over many more meals. If the bag is too big for your family, find a friend to split the bag with you. That reduces the cost for both of you.
The USDA recommends eating 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit every day. So as you eat your fruits and vegetables, think about these facts.
A horn worm can eat an entire tomato plant in one day
In the US, more tomatoes are eaten than any other fruit or vegetable
An average size tomato has one gram each of protein, fat and fiber plus almost as much potassium as a banana but only 35 calories
The tomato is in the same family as a petunia
Eating tomatoes can lower your risk of cancer
Actually a fruit, the Supreme Court ruled in 1893 to make tomatoes a vegetable (The Tariff Act of March 3, 1883 required a tax to be paid on imported vegetables, but not fruit!)
Bell peppers can be purple as well as green, red, and yellow
California produces almost all the broccoli sold in the US
Carrots are the 2nd most popular vegetable in the world after potatoes
Most of the nutrients in a potato are right under its skin
The average American eats 140 pounds of potatoes each year, including over 50 pounds of French fries!
A baked potato with its skin is a good source of 4 grams of dietary fiber
A medium potato has 3 grams of protein, no fat and more potassium than a banana
Sweet potatoes, winter squash, soy, lima and white beans also have more potassium than a banana.
We know that our health will improve if we chose to eat a variety of wholesome foods and avoid highly processed, rich foods. But it’s our choice. Catch the wave of eating improved food choices sweeping around the world.