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Healthyroads Offers Six Tips for Adding More Color (and Nutrition) to Your Life During National Fruit and Veggie Month in June

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SAN DIEGO, June 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The facts, in black and white: Too many of us skip the riotously colorful foods that pack the most nutrients per portion that you can eat.

Those many-hued delights? You guessed it: fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and veggies are chock-full of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, and are vital to your health. They are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and deliver a smorgasbord of wonderful, body-boosting building blocks compared to the amount of calories they have.

Still not a huge fan of fruits and veggies? This list might persuade you. Fruits and vegetables can:

  • Help prevent cancer and heart disease
  • Help prevent age-related eye diseases
  • Help you control your weight
  • Increase your HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Help lower your blood pressure
  • Help control your body's blood sugar level
  • Give you more energy

Ah, now you get it.

Timed to the bounty of summer, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month in June is a great time to begin incorporating more nutritious garden delights into your diet. Healthyroads – the award-winning wellness subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated – has a bounty of tips that make it easy to learn to love nature's wondrous foods.

1. Stock Up

Go grocery shopping on Sunday to stock up on fruits and veggies for the week. Or shop a couple of times a week if you want fresher produce. Farmers Markets are fun and educational places to buy the freshest foods. But, to ensure that you always have some on hand, buy frozen or dried fruits and veggies, as well as fresh. At the store, think about how many servings you need to buy: To eat five servings a day – the recommended amount – you'll need 35 servings of fruits and veggies each week!

2. Sneak a Serving Into Every Meal

Add some fruit to your favorite cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. At lunch, skip the usual sandwich and eat a salad, or vegetable soup. Or, if you just can't bear to veer too much from your routine, tuck one or two veggies into your sandwich, like cucumber or carrot. When eating out, ask for a side of steamed vegetables or a salad in place of French fries or chips (and watch the pounds melt off at the same time). Break the pepperoni habit and top your pizza with mushrooms, onions and peppers.

3. Switch It Up

No one food can give your body all the nutrients it needs. Each type of fruit and vegetable has different vitamins and minerals – you should eat a wide range to get all of the nutrients you need. A great way to make sure you do this is to look at color. Mix and match dark green veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and lettuce with red ones, such as tomatoes, red peppers and strawberries – and then, add in a splash of yellow or orange treats like carrots, sweet potatoes and yellow peppers. Top it off with a helping of bright citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and tangerines.

4. Think Like a Boy Scout

Be prepared! Cut up fruits such as apples, peaches, strawberries or pears, then store the pre-cut slices in plastic bags in your fridge for easy, on-the-go servings. Take a bag to work as a snack, or save a bag for dessert.

5. Break Out the Sippy Cup

Parents know how well this one works with kids, but there's no reason adults can't take part as well. Sip on some vegetable soup for a snack; try tomato, butternut squash or garden vegetable soup for a healthy, filling change of pace. Or, fill that cup with 100 percent fruit juice – strawberry, apple or blueberry – for a quick lift, instead of another cup of coffee at midday.

6. Try Something New

The world of fruits and veggies spans far beyond apples and carrots. Keep your diet varied by trying one of these "exotic" treats: pomegranates, persimmons, Asian pears, star fruit, butternut squash, bok choy or cactus. Be adventurous!

Remember: When it comes to feeding your body, fruits and veggies offer the most bang for your buck!

About Healthyroads

Healthyroads, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH), offers a wide range of population health solutions, including: the award-winning Healthyroads® telephone-based lifestyle and health coaching programs, member engagement promotion programs, program management, health risk assessments, biometric screenings, claims analytics, risk stratification, outreach, incentive management programs, competitive group challenges, worksite wellness programs and/or an integrated online wellness portal, Healthyroads.com. Healthyroads offers these programs to more than 5.7 million members nationally. For more information about Healthyroads programs, visit ASHCompanies.com or call (800) 848-3555. Follow us on Twitter at @Healthyroads, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Healthyroads, on Instagram @Healthyroads, on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/healthyroads/ and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/healthyroads.

ABOUT AMERICAN SPECIALTY HEALTH

American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) is a national health services organization that provides fitness and exercise programs, population health solutions and specialty health care programs for health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups and trust funds. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with offices in Dallas, TX, Indianapolis, IN and Columbia, SC, ASH has more than 1,000 employees and administers services for more than 32 million members nationwide. Additional products offered through ASH and its subsidiaries include Silver&Fit®, FitnessCoach, Active&Fit®, ExerciseRewardsTM and others. For more information about ASH, visit www.ASHCompanies.com or call 800-848-3555. Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter at @ASHCompanies.

CONTACT: Lisa Freeman 800.848.3555, ext. 3722 Direct: 310-390-3070 lisaf@ashn.com

Source:American Specialty Health