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April 16, 2014

How to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

By Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

You know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but you may not realize how beneficial they really are. Recent research says the more produce you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age.

A 12-year study of the eating habits of more than 65,000 people in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health ( http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2014/03/03/jech-2013-203500 ) found that eating seven or more servings of produce daily lowered the risk of dying from any cause by a whopping 42% compared to one portion or less each day. Health benefits increased for every serving over one. 

The research also showed that vegetables have a stronger effect on staying alive than fruit, but that fruit makes an important impact. Getting enough fruits and vegetables in your daily eating plan can be challenging, but it's easier when produces play a role in main dishes and snacks. 

This homemade version of Ranch dressing can be used for dipping or on salads, and kids love it!

Ranch Dressing
Makes 1 cup

2/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Hood Fat Free Buttermilk
1 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. salt
Ground black pepper, to taste, if desired

Place all ingredients in small mixing bowl. Using a whisk, mix ingredients until well combined. If possible, refrigerate for at least an hour before using. Refrigerate remaining dressing for later use.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that feature fruits, vegetables, and Hood products, which serve up bone-building calcium, protein, and many other nutrients:

Broccoli Cheese Calzone

Au Gratin Vegetable Bake
 
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata

Spinach Banana Smoothie

Roasted Red Pepper Dip


Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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