Five Is Fine, But Nine’s Divine

How many of you are thinking more and more about making sure you eat five servings and fruits and vegetables everyday?  There are a lot of reasons why this is good advice for someone trying to lose weight with the primary one being it gets you filled up nutrient dense, low calorie foods.  If you fill up on the good-for-you stuff, chances are you’ll eat less of the bad.

But even if that’s not your goal, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can put you nutritionally on more solid ground and help reduce the risk of chronic disease including some cancers, heart disease and diabetes.  Plus it automatically increases your daily fiber intake.  Overall, a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables will help you look and feel better.

If five a day sounds like a lot, remember we have adapted to super-sized portions so we tend to think that this would be more food than it actually is.  A small apple, small banana, six baby carrots, one-half of a large sweet potato and one cup of lettuce would get you to the five a day goal.  I recommend overachievers shoot for nine or ten a day and really get the system loaded up on nutrients and antioxidants.

If you visit Five A Day The Fun Way on Facebook and click “Like” you’ll get tips and reminders daily to keep you inspired.

Here’s an all veggie recipe from Cooks.com that my family loves.  We use it as a dip for whole grain nacho chips.

 CORN AND BLACK BEAN SALAD

1 (12 oz.) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c. green onions, diagonally sliced
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 med. tomato, chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped (optional)
Cilantro sprigs or red onion wedge, for garnish

DRESSING:
3/4 c. Italian salad dressing
3/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

In large bowl, combine corn, beans, bell pepper, green onions, red onion, garlic, tomato, and Jalapeno pepper.

FOR DRESSING: In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine Italian salad dressing, hot pepper sauce, chili powder, lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Close lid. Shake to mix well. Pour dressing over corn mixture. Stir to mix. Refrigerate, covered, at least 6 hours, or overnight. To serve, put corn mixture in attractive salad bowl. Garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro or a thin wedge of red onion.