Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eat Your Veggies!

Eastern Health has recently launched a new Vegetable and Fruit Public Awareness Campaign.

Eastern Health has identified the need to promote vegetables and fruit based on low consumption rates here in our province. I was disappointed to learn that compared to the rest of Canada, the intake of vegetables and fruit in the Eastern Health region is well below the national average.

There is no disputing the positive impact that fruits and vegetables have on an individual’s health. Healthy eating is a key element in human development, reducing the risk of chronic disease and contributing to overall health and vitality.

This new awareness campaign promotes the consumption of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruit, and is targeted to parents and caregivers of children between the ages of five and thirteen. The goal is to help parents and caregivers become more aware of their options and to learn ways to enjoy vegetables and fruit with every meal and snack.

Fresh, frozen, and canned are all good options!


Listen, I get it. Parenting is hard and life is busy and it can be challenging to try and do all of the things that we know we should be doing for our families. Healthy eating with farm-fresh ingredients should be a priority, but sometimes we let it slip. I'm with you. It can be difficult coming up with new recipes, and it is a total pain having to go to the grocery store every single day, but there are ways around it! Keep canned and frozen vegetables on hand. Stock up on fresh veggies when they are in season, and when preparing a meal, cook extra and freeze it for later. Your future busy self will thank you!

Make shopping for produce more enjoyable by visiting a local farm or farmers market. Challenge your family to explore new tastes and flavours. Get your children involved in meal preparation. Try new things, and have fun in the kitchen! You will be healthier and happier because of it!

We visited Lester's Farm Market recently. Their produce is so fresh and beautiful - it is harvested daily and placed on the shelves within hours! Once again, I was amazed at some of the things they grow that I had no idea were grown in Newfoundland. We typically think of potatoes, carrots, turnip, and other root vegetables that are hearty and are able to survive our harsh weather conditions, but with the help of greenhouses and new farm technologies, Lester's Farm has been the first in Newfoundland to grow crops such as corn, melons, sweet potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, and more! They also have an impressive selection of locally grown Oriental veggies!

Eating more vegetables and fruit may be the single most important dietary change parents and caregivers can make to help improve their family’s health while reducing the risk of major chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancers,” said Dr. Delphine Grynszpan, Regional Medical Officer of Health for Eastern Health. “Further, children learn from watching adults. By encouraging parents and caregivers to enjoy vegetables and fruit, we are also helping their children establish healthy eating habits for life.

We have been so fortunate with Brennen, in that despite his many challenges, he is super healthy and hardly ever gets sick. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that he eats so well, and eats such a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. We will continue to expose him to new tastes and flavours, eating with him the most nutritious meals we can provide, and bringing better and healthier habits into our home!

For more information about Eastern Health's Vegetable and Fruit Campaign, visit www.easternhealth.ca/Veggies&Fruit

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