How Dukies Add Color to Their Plates

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Contributed by a Duke Student and Former Nutrition Intern

Thumbnail Have you ever felt happy just from walking into a colorful day? The sky is blue, the trees are green, and the earth has red, purples, yellows, and browns. Well, today’s blog is about adding some color to your plate as well as your life.

Yes, I am talking about vegetables and fruits (hereafter referred to as “V & F.”)

Every day science and health experts find more reasons that V& F will make us healthier, stronger, and less vulnerable to disease. Power-packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, these products of nature reduce our risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and provide the “keys” to natural healing, feeling great, and powering our bodies.  Plus, eating them adds additional fiber and nutrients that may take the place of, say, something less nutritious that you could have chosen to eat.

Time to put this knowledge to use! Let’s be practical. How are we going to get more of these V’s and F’s into our life right now?

Good news: each day provides plenty of opportunities to consume more V& F (even if you haven’t had success in the past.) If you can’t get veggies in one meal, get them in next time.  When swiping our Duke cards, try to choose the more “veggie-ful” options on the menu. That doesn’t have to be a salad, but it might mean the option that at least has a few veggies included in the ingredients. When you pass by Quenchers or Trinity Café pick up a few carrots or cucumbers to munch on. Everything counts.

How about the little snacks we all eat in our rooms?  Stock your dorm fridges with favorite V& F.  For example, keep available a package of baby carrots from the Lobby Shop and pair it with some hummus.  If you tend to eat toast or sandwiches, try adding V or F. I personally love tomatoes and cucumbers. I will add them to cream cheese toast, or a hummus sandwich.  Banana slices also go great on PB sandwiches. You can also add apples to your morning cereal, or try adding berries, bananas or other fruit to yogurt.

Fruits and Veggies have another benefit aside from adding nutrition to our diet: they also help replace those calories that don’t give us as much benefit. By munching on those cold crunchy carrots, for example, that bag of chips will probably stay behind the glass in the vending machine. Swipe for an apple or banana to replace another swipe you wouldn’t mind not making maybe that cookie or chocolate muffin. Of course, I am not saying to never eat treats, practice the 90/10 rule: It is what you eat most of the time that matters.

How do you keep the color in your life?