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Eat the Rainbow Winter Week 6-Fiber is Your Friend!

Oops!! I was on vacation and forgot to schedule this for Monday. Better late than never! ; – )

EtR PROGRAM UPDATES:

REPORT LAST WEEK’S FRUIT & VEGGIE INTAKE HERE!

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR!! New beginnings are always great times to think about intentions. I encourage you not to jump on any diet or exercise programs, but rather stick to the common sense healthy lifestyle guidelines. I intentionally scheduled a Mindful Eating webinar for January to try to help you stay focused on having a positive and healthy relationship with food! I hope you will join us on Thursday, January 20th at 7:30pm! Register Here!
  • Since we are halfway through the challenge, it’s time to take your mid point growth level quiz and see how you’ve progressed. CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE QUIZ!

Welcome to Week 6 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!

We are halfway through the challenge, woohoo!

Something that came up in the past around this time in the challenge is that your body might not be tolerating the increase in fruits and vegetables. It prompted me to give everyone an important tip about making changes:

TAKE IT SLOW!

Our bodies get used to our regular way of eating, so when you intentionally make a change (especially if it involves increasing fiber!), it’s best to make those changes a little bit at a time, over a few weeks’ time.

TOPIC FOR WEEK 6

This week we are talking about…FIBER! Are you getting enough? Believe it or not – most Americans are not eating enough fiber

The American Institute for Cancer Research advises that you eat about 30 grams of fiber per day from food sources, but most Americans are falling short of this goal. 

WHAT IS FIBER?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that the human body cannot break down and digest. While we do not absorb it, fiber still moves through the digestive tract and has some great health benefits.

WHY IS FIBER IMPORTANT? 

Here are the top 3 reasons: 

1. Fiber supports healthy digestion

  • By improving your digestion, your body is able to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat, and also eliminate waste products from the body efficiently 

2. Fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome

  • Your gut microbiome is all of the good bacteria that live in your gut – they help you digest food and also support your immune system. Fiber’s role in the body is to be food for the microbiome in your large intestine! 
  • Check out our blog post on prebiotic and probiotic fiber to learn more about how fiber keeps your gut healthy! 

3. Fiber has been shown to protect against disease 

  • The latest reports from the American Institute for Cancer Research show that each 10 gram increase in dietary fiber is linked to a 7% lower risk of colorectal cancer
  • Fiber may also help prevent against other types of cancer, and also has other health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, decreased blood pressure, and improved insulin sensitivity

Ok, so now you know that fiber is REALLY important – but how can you increase the amount of fiber in your diet? 

Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber, so a great place to start is by eating more fruits and vegetables

Tip: If possible, don’t peel your fruits and veggies! The skin or peel of fruits and vegetables provides extra fiber.  

Things like potatoes, kiwi, peaches, and carrots can be scrubbed really well with a vegetable brush to get them clean before eating the skin! Obviously, there are some skins that are not edible (bananas, avocados). Please don’t eat those, haha!

Here are some easy ways to add extra fiber to your day:

  • Eat a banana with your breakfast – bananas contain about 3-4 grams of fiber per serving 
  • Choose an apple as a snack – one medium apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber
  • Add some avocado to a salad or sandwich – one cup of sliced avocado contains about 10 grams of fiber
  • Add broccoli to your dinner plate – one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 5 grams of fiber
  • Eat plant proteins daily! Beans, nuts and seeds contain protein, phytochemicals AND FIBER!

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:

Try out one of the suggestions above to add more fiber to your diet this week – remember to take a photo and share it on our Facebook page!

Tip: When increasing fiber, make sure to also increase water! Drinking water will make sure that fiber can move smoothly through your digestive tract. 

PRODUCE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: BROCCOLI

One of my favorite nutrition facts about broccoli is that it actually has more vitamin C than an orange. A cup of broccoli contains all of your daily requirements of this essential antioxidant. Add to that the fact that broccoli also has plenty of fiber and vitamin K (important for blood clotting), and you’ve got a real nutritional powerhouse. There’s a reason most of us were told to eat our broccoli as kids!

HOW TO USE

Broccoli is very versatile, here are a few of the most popular ways to prep it:

  • Raw: Dip raw broccoli florets in hummus or ranch dressing, or use it in a salad like the recipe below!
  • Grilled: Even in the winter, you can grill up broccoli on a grill pan or panini press like in this recipe from Chef Malena
  • Roasted: Roasted broccoli is one of my favorite ways to eat broccoli, I think it brings out so many of the natural flavors in it. 
  • Steamed: Quick and easy, steaming is a great way to get broccoli on the table. You can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave. 

Print

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Broccoli Apple Salad

This recipe is really good, and I’m not usually a fan of raw broccoli. Chef Malena even used the stalks of the broccoli in the salad so that we didn’t waste any part of it! The nice thing about this salad is that it can last a few days in the fridge and still taste good.

  • Author: Chef Malena and Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • half of one red onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey or sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, carrots, red onion, apple, pecans, and dried cranberries
  2. Whisk together Greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey or sugar, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl
  3. Add to broccoli mixture
  4. Toss to coat
  5. Chill until ready to serve

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

-Julie and the Interns!

Eat the Rainbow Challenge Winter Week 5-Produce Myth #5: Raw Foods Are More Nutritious Than Cooked Foods

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