Summer Nutrition

Summer’s here and the farmers markets are in full swing – it’s a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables! Fruits and vegetables offer many health benefits. They are full of fiber, which helps us feel full, aids in digestion, and can slow the absorption of sugar. Fruits and vegetables are also a major source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for our health. 

 

So how many servings of fruits and vegetables do you need a day? For kids, the recommended daily amount increases with age and varies slightly between boys and girls. The USDA provides information on the recommended daily minimum intake for each age range (see here for fruits; see here for vegetables). The USDA also provides handy tables that show what is considered a cup of many popular fruits and vegetables. Did you know that 32 seedless grapes is considered 1 cup of fruit?  

 

It can be hard to meet these recommendations, especially while managing T1D and juggling hectic schedules. Check out some tips for increasing your fruit and vegetable intake below!

Fruit and Veggie Tips!

  • Value in variety: Fruits and vegetables have different vitamins and minerals, so it is important to eat a variety of them to ensure you are receiving all of their benefits. Try “eating the rainbow,” or choosing fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, like red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow bell peppers, green spinach, blueberries, and purple grapes, for example. If you need ideas, the ADA provides a long list of common fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

  • Keep it simple: It can be fun to get creative and try new recipes, but sometimes this can be overwhelming, especially if you are in a hurry. Remember, you can always keep it simple! Try steaming fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave in minutes for a quick and healthy side dish or addition to any meal. Just add a small amount of water to the bowl with the vegetable before placing it in the microwave. Many frozen vegetables come in ready-to-steam packages that can be cooked in the microwave with no need for preparation. If this is a good option for you, try to buy items without added sugars, creams or sauces. You will find this information in the ingredients list on the package.

  • Always be prepared: Adding fruits and vegetables to your snacks is a good way to increase your intake. But if you are on the go, you may not have time to prepare a snack that includes fruits and vegetables. To help with this, you could take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to prepare a few snack options in advance. For example, try cutting up carrot sticks or red bell peppers that can easily be dipped in hummus later.

  • Don’t break the bank: Many fruits and vegetables are in season in the summer, like apricots, cherries, and tomatoes, and a lot of in season produce is grown here in Michigan. Buying in season produce is often less expensive and can be more flavorful. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also be a less expensive alternative to fresh produce. When purchasing frozen produce, be sure to look for items without added sugars, creams, or sauces.

  • Involve the whole family: Involving young kids in the cooking process could get them more excited about eating fruits and vegetables. Try bringing them along to the grocery store so they can pick out the produce they want to eat. If age appropriate, have them do some supervised meal preparation, like helping to wash the produce.

Visit these USDA resources for more tips on increasing fruit and vegetable intake:

 

July is National Grilling Month!

While the sun is out, nothing is better than gathering your family and friends and having a cookout or barbecue. While burgers and hot dogs can be delicious, you may want to mix it up and add some healthy, delicious options to your menu! Fire up the grill and prepare fruits and vegetables in fun new ways with these recipes!

Check out more grilling recipes from the American Diabetes Association today!

Stay Hydrated!

We need more water in the hot summer months, so it is important to remember to drink water throughout the day. If you have trouble getting enough water, try carrying around a reusable water bottle so you always have some with you, or try flavoring your water with fresh squeezed lime or lemon. This summer, instead of choosing sugar-sweetened beverages like soda or sports drinks, choose water and stay hydrated!

© 2019 Regents of the University of Michigan