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As much as I love the summer and all that comes with it (warm temps, the beach, fun in the sun), each year I find myself getting excited for the pleasures autumn brings.  I’m not the only one either–earlier this week a friend posted on Facebook, “Pumpkin Spice coffee is back at Dunkin’ Donuts!!! It’s gonna be a great day!”  It’s funny how something so simple can make a big difference in your mood. 

Now that Labor Day has passed I have a few things on my “to-do” list for the upcoming weekend.  I’ll be sprucing up the house with some fall flowers, specifically bright-colored mums and getting rid of the ragged looking petunias I’ve had since early June (they’ve seen better days!).  I’ll also be taking advantage of the fresh fall produce that’s now available in the grocery store and at local farmer’s markets.  Fall fruits and veggies are just starting to come into their peak so now is the time to buy them.  You’ll get the best tasting produce and they’re in season, which means they’re at the best prices!  I’m talking items like butternut squash, acorn squash, pears, apples, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.

The past few months I’ve been focusing on summer items and lighter menus that are geared around the hotter weather.  This weekend I’m looking forward to roasting some fresh butternut squash and I’m going to try this Pears ‘n Apple Crisp w/Cranberries recipe from Fruits & Veggies–More Matters as pears are the fruit of the month.  As the cooler weather sets in I’ll be making more soups, roasting more veggies and doing more baking–all things I look forward to after a 3-4 month break from them.  Even herbs and spices change with the season.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary and sage represent fall cooking to me and will be showing up in my recipes more frequently over the next few months.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the change of seasons with including some healthy fall cooking in your own home.  Be sure to check out the latest Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Pinterest Board, Fall Favorites, which features some mouth watering dishes perfect for the season!

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Q:  How many exchange carbohydrates are in a cup of watermelon?

A: 1 ¼ cups of watermelon is equivalent to 1 carbohydrate exchange.

 

Q:  Is the sugar in fruits bad for you?  If I am 40 yo, 5’8” and 148 pounds, how many servings of fruit should I consume per day?

A:  It is a common misconception that the sugar in fruits is “bad” for you.  While fruit does contain sugar, it is natural sugar that is easily digested by the body. While dried fruits are still a good choice, since they are dehydrated, they tend to be higher in calories and carbohydrates. Therefore, make sure to a variety of colors and forms—fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice throughout the day.   Based on your age, weight and height you should consume 2 cups of fruit per day.  Learn more about the key nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.

 

Q: Is it safe to give my 18 month old vegetable broth?

A: Yes!  Try using the low sodium variety.  Homemade vegetable broth would be even better.  You can use the extra broth in our Quick Minestrone Soup recipe.

 

Q:  How can I encourage my child to try new fruits and vegetables?

A: Encouraging your child to eat more fruits and vegetables can be a challenge.  One way to ease into the process is for you to be a healthy role model for your children. If they see you eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, they will soon follow suit.  Here are a few other suggestions for adding fruits and vegetables to your child’s diet:

  • Invite your kids to cook with you.  Involving kids in the preparation and cooking for new fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to make them comfortable around new foods. It also instills a sense of accomplishment.
  • Get your kids involved in growing, harvesting, and selecting fruits & veggies at the supermarket.
  • Check out our kids’ website FoodChamps.org for fun games that educate children about healthy eating and fruits and vegetables.
  • Pack more fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet.  Pack Assorted Colors for Kids (P.A.C.K.)is an educational program that encourages kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.
 

Have you wanted to make a change?  Maybe drop a few pounds or add more exercise to your schedule?  September is Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Month and there’s never a better time to start than right now!

Many of us often think of January as the ideal time to begin a new routine, but September also marks new beginnings–a new season and a new school year.  As summer fades into autumn it provides an opportunity to either start something new or re-energize your existing commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has plenty of resources to help you reach your goals, whether they are adding more fruits and vegetables to your day, reaching or maintaining a healthy weight or becoming more active.  Here are a few topics you may find interesting:

It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking, just do something different (healthy!) to celebrate Fruits & Veggies–More Matters’ favorite month.  It could be as simple as trying a new fruit or vegetable each week.  My plan is to aim for three meatless meals each week–I’ll report back in a future blog and let you know how this is going!

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The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.
Read her full bio123 >>

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