Most British Columbians, including children, don't get enough vegetables and fruits. With the wide array of produce available all year round, fruits and vegetables are the best "fast food" going - just wash, peel and eat!
Use the shopping experience to educate children - quiz them about the names of fruits and vegetables and their colors. Let them pick out items that are on the shopping list and put them into their own child-size cart. Let them experience the textures of rough skins on cantaloupe, fuzzy skin on a kiwi, the smooth skin of a banana.
Depending on the age of the child, let them weigh produce, check and compare prices and read ingredients on food labels.
Eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruit has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In addition, people who eat at least 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day are less likely to have weight problems, hypertension, high cholesterol levels or intestinal problems. In other words, eating vegetables and fruit is an easy, safe way to improve your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide recommends 7-10 servings per day for adults. Children and teens need 4-8 servings per day. If you shop with your kids along, this is a good chance to let them pick out their favourite fruits and vegetables - they are more likely to enjoy eating these foods when they've been involved in choosing them.
What is a serving?
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
- 250 mL (1 cup) raw leafy greens or salad
- One piece of fruit such as a banana or a "tennis ball" sized orange or apple
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) unsweetened 100% juice
REMEMBER! End of aisle displays may not be a better buy than the same product of different brands on the shelf. Be sure to compare prices before you buy. While 100% unsweetened fruit juice is nutritious, it is high in natural sugar, calories and acid that can harm your teeth. Children should limit their intake to 125 mL (1/2 cup) daily. Teens and adults should have no more than 250 mL (1 cup) per day. For dental health, fruit juice is best taken with, rather than between, meals. Find out more about sugary drinks here.
Watch our VIDEO "Shopping Sense - Best Buys in Vegetables and Fruits" for money saving tips in the Produce Section of the grocery store.
Likewise, vegetable juices have many vitamins and minerals but can be high in sodium. Check the Nutrition Facts table on fruit and vegetable juice and choose those that are lowest in sugar and sodium. Learn more about reading labels here.
SODIUM MATTERS IN THE PRODUCE SECTION
- Fresh vegetables and fruits from Apples to Zucchini are naturally low in sodium - fill your family's plates with a wide variety of choices from the produce aisle.
- An eating pattern rich in fruits and vegetables provides additional benefits in lowering blood pressure.
- Compare the Percent Daily Value (%DV) on the Nutrition Facts table of canned and frozen vegetables and vegetable juices and choose those that are lowest in sodium.
- Dried fruits have a bit more sodium than their fresh counterpart but still make a healthy snack.
- For more information, check out our Sodium Articles and Blogs or these Sodium Fact Sheets.