“Eat your vegetables.” Who hasn’t heard that from our moms? But eating vegetables was often just a hurdle to get to the good stuff … dessert! Sure, we know veggies are good for us, but many of us don’t think they taste good.
The Nevada County Public Health Department and the Network for a Healthy California are working to change that perception.
Fruit is usually another story. Most of us like fruit. But we may not be familiar with all the varieties that are out there. Bananas, yes. Blood oranges, maybe not.
Through our Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Program, we are working to help people find ways to make every day delicious with vegetables and fruits. The Nevada County Public Health Department, in collaboration with Grocery Outlet, is holding a Fruit & Veggie Fest for the second year at the Sutton Way store from 1 to 4 p.m. today.
Our event is part of an annual statewide celebration to inspire shoppers with healthy tips and recipes that include plenty of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables.
We know that what we eat affects our health. We also know there’s an obesity epidemic in our country. Even though a recent study reported that Nevada County is the ninth healthiest county in the state, 21 percent of adults in Nevada County are obese.
As our public health officer, Dr. Ken Cutler, said in a recent “Other Voices” piece, chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and many cancers, have become a major public health issue. We know that obesity is a key contributor to those diseases.
We are intent on working to reduce chronic disease in our community, and we know healthy eating is an important component to a healthy life.
Thanks to the generosity of Grocery Outlet and General Produce Company, today we’ll have tastings of vegetables and fruit, a smoothie tasting (made on a human-powered bicycle blender) and water infused with fruits and veggies. We’ll be giving out recipe cards, a cookbook and grocery totes and will have handouts that will give you ideas about how to increase your fruit and veggie consumption. A CalFresh representative will be there, too. You may be surprised how easy it is. And everything is free.
The goal of events like the one today is to help engage local families so they become champions for change … become part of the solution to the obesity epidemic. We want to show consumers that even small steps, like finding ways to add just a little more fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks, can lead to big health improvements.
Unfortunately, we know that only about 5 percent of adults are eating what is recommended. In fact, we’re eating nine pounds less of fruits and veggies than we were 10 years ago. There’s ample evidence that a healthy diet is important to reducing the risk of several chronic diseases. Indeed, it’s estimated that medical costs related to an unhealthy diet are about $72 billion a year.
You can go to choosemyplate.gov to learn more. You will find out that, depending on gender, age and activity level, it’s recommended adults eat three-and-a-half to six-and-a-half cups of fruits and veggies a day and children two to five-and-a-half cups. The website also will give you tips on including more vegetables and fruit in your diet.
So come to Grocery Outlet today between 1 and 4 p.m. You and your family will have fun and walk away with lots of good ideas about how to make healthy and delicious meals.
We want moms to keep saying, “Eat your vegetables.” We want everyone in the family to say, “Give me more.”
Lynne Lacroix is the project coordinator of the Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention Program, Nevada County Public Health Department.