Now that we're in August, there are many fresh fruits and vegetables that are readily available from local produce stands, farmers' markets, and backyard gardens. How many of your co-workers have an overflow of zuchinni, tomatoes, pickles and peppers this time of year that they are bringing into the office?
There are many different ways to lose or maintain a healthy weight. Helping control your weight is not the only benefit of eating more fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases, and also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
Here are some simple ways to cut calories and eat fruits and vegetables throughout your workday from the website www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Start the Day Right with Breakfast: Substitute some spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories than the egg or cheese. Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories.
Lighten Up Your Lunch: Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original. Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won't miss those extra calories.
Smart Snacks: Most healthy eating plans allow for one or two small snacks a day. Choosing most fruits and vegetables will allow you to eat a snack with only 100 calories.
About 100 Calories or Less: a medium-size apple (72 calories); a medium-size banana (105 calories); 1 cup steamed green beans (44 calories); 1 cup blueberries (83 calories); 1 cup grapes (100 calories); or 1 cup carrots (45 calories), broccoli (30 calories), or bell peppers (30 calories) with 2 tbsp. hummus (46 calories)
Instead of a high-calorie snack from a vending machine, bring some cut-up vegetables or fruit from home. One snack-sized bag of corn chips (1 ounce) has the same number of calories as a small apple, 1 cup of whole strawberries, AND 1 cup of carrots with 1/4 cup of low-calorie dip. Substitute one or two of these options for the chips, and you will have a satisfying snack with fewer calories.
Cindi Dinger, on behalf of the Wellness Committee