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Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption helps with weight loss
A New Year's resolution that's easy to follow: eat more

As we all renew the annual ritual of making New Year's resolutions, the pledge to shed pounds will no doubt top the list again this year, but a group dedicated to better health says most people still resolve to do the wrong thing and miss a very simple solution ... eat more.

Elizabeth Pivonka is a registered dietitian as well as president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation, the nonprofit entity behind the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters national public health initiative. Pivonka says that dieting is not the answer. "We should all be eating more of the things that are good for us and less of those that are not. That has always been and will always be a better solution then temporarily denying yourself one or more entire categories of food."
 
Pivonka suggests eating more nutrient-dense foods, those that offer more vitamins, minerals and fiber per calorie like healthy fruits and vegetables, and avoiding foods that offer less nutrition per calorie is the key to losing weight and maintaining that weight once you reach it.
 
Pivonka adds that, when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, eating more fruits and veggies matters and may even reduce the risk of many diseases. She advises choosing fruits and vegetables instead of other foods that are higher in fat, particularly saturated fat, and calories. "Fruits and vegetables play important roles in the process of weight loss and weight maintenance. Not only because they are low in calories but also because they provide a wide range of valuable nutrients like fiber, vitamins and potassium."
 
"Adding a healthy side dish while decreasing the portion size of foods that are higher in calories and fat can have a significant impact on weight loss as well as long-term health," said Pivonka.  "The good news is that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat is easy because fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables as well as 100 percent juice all count toward your daily fruit and vegetable needs. If all you have time for is to open a package of frozen mixed vegetables and zap it in the microwave, then that's great, you're still getting a nutritious side dish."
 
Pivonka also says that most U.S. adults don't get the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables each day. "Adding a handful of dried fruit as a snack gives you one more serving and may also help with getting to a healthy weight by keeping you full longer between meals. This portable snack option fits easily into even the busiest of lifestyles."
 
Whether maintaining your current weight or losing a few pounds is your goal, be sure to include plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie foods; that means you can eat more of them than you can of many other foods. Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber, which can help you feel fuller, faster. This can help lower the number of calories you eat, because you stop eating sooner.
 
"Don't feel you need to give your diet a complete overhaul right away. Sometimes big changes are difficult to stick to. If you can only make one diet change right now you're best option is to add just one fruit or vegetable serving each day. You'll find you won't need to eat as much of other foods when you do."
 
And don't forget to get moving! Regular physical activity helps develop strong bones and muscles, may reduce risk for health problems later in life, and promotes self-confidence and a positive self-image. 
 
For more information about maintaining a healthy weight along with user-friendly advice on how to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet; including, recipes, nutrition information, tips for getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables, and even videos, visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.   

 

Publication date: 12/24/2009


 


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