Eat your fruits and veggies

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kali L. Gradishar
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Did you ever sit at the table hoping your trusty Labrador would beg for scraps, just so you could clear your plate and be released from the table? I did, sort of. Only, I didn't have a Labrador.

No matter, I still didn't want to eat my veggies. Fruit, maybe. But veggies? No way. Just the thought of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery and any other healthy additive in our meals was enough to make me queasy.

There were the usual tricks my parents tried.

"If you eat your fruits and vegetables you will grow tall and strong."
"If you eat your fruits and vegetables you can watch an extra hour of television."
"If you eat your fruits and vegetables we will let you stay up a bit later than usual."
"If you eat your fruits and vegetables you can spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house."

It wasn't that I didn't want these things; I just wasn't into eating the nasty greens. Surely there are many who have felt the same as me. Really, what child absolutely loves their veggies? None that I've ever come across.

Good thing I grew up, though.

As Airmen, we should all be healthy, fit and ready for any challenge that comes our way. Exercising, along with eating a well-balanced meal, can help us toward that goal. Eating nutritious foods can seem undesirable at times, but the benefits from doing so are fruitful.

For example, I know that carrots are one source of Vitamin A, which is good for the eyes and skin. Other common sources of Vitamin A include spinach, cantaloupe and red peppers, among other foods.

What about fiber? Everyone needs fiber in their diet. A wide variety of beans are known to be an excellent source of fiber. This includes kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, soybeans and white beans. Other foods rich in fiber are split peas, lentils and artichokes. So, making a bean casserole or chili would provide me with plenty of fiber.

A simple smoothie would provide a good amount of Vitamin C, which helps heal wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Just add kiwi, strawberries, oranges or mangoes. Or throw them all in a blender with some ice for an enjoyable and healthy fruit cocktail.

Finding foods that can be nutritionally beneficial is not hard. It all begins at the grocery store as you scan the aisles. Choose the healthy items rather than the sodium-filled potato chips and fattening ice cream. It's harder to snack on the unhealthy items if you don't buy them in the first place.

Venture out into the world of fruits and vegetables. Find a recipe that you find to your liking and head straight for the kitchen with your chopping knife and ingredients. What may take a bit longer to conjure than the average microwave pizza, could turn out to be a delicious and nutritious meal.

Following a well-balanced diet, with a few days of exercise per week mixed in, we can all become the warriors we strive to be.

(Information from www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov was used in this commentary.)