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Food Bank using 'veggie meter' to encourage healthy eating

Imagine being able to find out just how well you're doing when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables in the matter of seconds? Well, that's exactly what the Food Bank of Delaware is doing with their brand new 'veggie meter' to help show people how to eat healthier. 

It may not look like anything other than an electronic pencil sharpener, but this device called the 'veggie meter' is changing the way the Food bank of Delaware is monitoring the public's health.

"What it does is it measures carotenoid levels in your skin," explains Sarah Sheppard, Manager for the Food Bank Nutrition Programs.

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She explains that carotenoids are in the fruits and vegetables you consume and the device can detect the levels in just a matter of seconds.

"So the idea is that we can use this tool at the beginning of an intervention and then provide people with fruits and vegetables and education on how to increase their vegetable intake and then measure it again and we will see whether or not they've actually increased their fruit and vegetable consumption," says Sheppard. 

The Food Bank says the veggie meter is perfect to for showcasing progression, something they couldn't do as easily before. 

"It's really difficult to measure behavior changes and consumption and dietary patterns. That's one of the struggles in community nutrition in general and that's why this type of technology is so exciting. Because previously we were using food frequency questionnaires and there's many validated ways to utilize those, but it's also really good to have objective numbers too." 

Right now the Food Bank is using the veggie meter for their Produce Prescription Program, but they are hoping to expand it to several other programs that are aimed at aiding others in a healthier lifestyle. 

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