Of course fresh fruits and veggies are healthy, but did you know frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice can be just as nutritious!? When it comes to fruits and veggies, 90% of adults and children do not eat the recommended servings and individuals who consume plenty of fruits and vegetables have overall better health including lower risk for chronic disease including: obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. By simply filling half of your plates with fruits and/or veggies, better health is within reach. September celebrates Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month and draws importance to the point that eating more fruits and veggies matters!
When shopping for fruits and veggies, fresh is best when in season or going to be served with minimal preparation or cooking. For casseroles and stews, no salt added canned and frozen veggies are an excellent option. For smoothies and desserts, no sugar added canned and frozen fruits are also a great choice. In addition to fresh, canned, and frozen, 100% juice and dried fruits count toward our fruit and veggie intake too. While there is much misconception, no salt OR sugar added canned and no salt OR sugar added frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh and easy to include in meals. While no salt or sugar added is best, it is still healthier to eat canned or frozen veggies with salt and canned or frozen fruit with sugar, than none at all!
Lastly, remember to go for color! Each different color of fruits and veggies gives our bodies different nutrients. If we always eat white or brown veggies such as potatoes, onions, and cauliflower, while those are healthy, we would be missing out on lots of other nutrients. A good rule of thumb is to choose different colored fruits and veggies throughout the day. For example, if you eat an apple for lunch, instead of a pear at dinner, choose strawberries or blueberries or mango instead.
Satisfying your taste buds and nutritional needs is easy with help from our friends at Produce for Better Health, access their recipe database Here is one of my favorites:
Chicken Tortilla Casserole
- 2 cups diced cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 can (about 15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) no added salt corn, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 can Campbell's® Healthy Request® Condensed Healthy Request® Cream of Chicken Soup
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 corn tortilla (6-inch), cut in half
- 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Set the oven to 350°F. Stir the chicken, beans, corn, garlic, three-fourths of the green onions, the chili powder, soup and lime juice in a large bowl.
- Spread about 1/4 cup chicken mixture the bottom of an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 tortilla halves on the chicken mixture, straight edges facing out against the edges of the dish. Top with half the remaining chicken mixture. Repeat with the remaining tortilla halves and the remaining chicken mixture. Cover the baking dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Uncover the baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions.
This September, and always, aim to fill half of your plates with fruits and veggies and remember, adding color to your plate is not only pretty, but is good for your health too! Shop our fresh produce, canned, and frozen sections for the best selection of fruits and veggies today!
"This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition."
Stephanie Edson Regional Wellness Specialist
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.