Half the Plate…Feel Great!

I’m going to be perfectly fair here; no exaggerating to make a point, no casting things in the most negative light for the sake of drama. But there is a proverbial “elephant in the room” that we just have to address head on.  A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two-thirds of Americans don’t get the recommended two servings of fruit a day; three-quarters miss the target for vegetables. (1)

If that’s how we eat, guess who is watching and taking notes?  “If busy parents throw a frozen pizza in the microwave”,  says Dr. Charles Clark, professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, “that’s a bad meal that sends a bad message,”(2)

What did you eat yesterday? Can’t remember, well I can’t either so let’s just imagine what A.A. (Average American) would eat in a day.  BREAKFAST:  bowl of cereal,  about ½ banana cut up on top,  8 oz. of orange juice   MIDMORNING SNACK: granola bar or half a donut   LUNCH: sandwich with bread, lunchmeat, maybe a slice of tomato or some lettuce, apple, chips, sweetened coffee… 

DINNER: baked chicken, French bread, side serving of green salad, cake for dessert, and maybe some alcohol of some sort.  Have I been fair? 

Now let’s consider the fruits and vegetables of A.A.‘s diet:  The USDA recommends 2 c. of fruit daily.  A.A. almost made it with his apple, juice, and half banana.  A.A.‘s 1 c. of salad ,(iceberg doesn’t count) and sandwich tomato don’t come close the 2 1/2 c. goal of dark green and brightly colored vegetables.  Am I exaggerating?  Did I get this right, or even close?

Even Oprah has a strong message about our produce intake.  “Eating more fruits and vegetables is one of the most important dietary habits you can adopt to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension and to manage your weight. Vegetables in particular will cost you little in the way of calories while offering huge health benefits.”  (3)

Here at Orange Tree Lane we go by the mantra, “Half the Plate, Feel Great.”  Half the plate with produce that is. You can get started on that using the three recipes on the menu this week because each one includes a healthy portion of vegetables.  I also cut up fresh vegetables to snack on before dinner while I am finishing up, and that is a great way to get more without even realizing it. Today we had crispy sticks of jicama and small, sweet carrots before and then during dinner.

This week remember to evaluate your own meals and see if half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. If it is, you’ll be surprised how many other things you don’t eat because you are busy eating so much produce, and that is good for every waistline!

Test Cook and Research Specialist for Orange Tree Lane

“Studies have shown that children who learn about proper nutrition and the reasoning behind healthy choices are less likely to be overweight in adulthood.” 

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(1)  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130432584
(2)  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_DietAndFitness/junk-food-makes-half-kids-calories/story?id=11767886
(3)  http://www.oprah.com/health/Four-Weeks-to-Healthy-Eating