Help your patients include more fruits and vegetables in their diet
Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals. The nutrients that fruits and vegetables provide can help you reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other diseases.
They are also low in calories and high in fiber, so they keep you feeling fuller longer. If you can grow fresh items at home or buy local produce, you will be doing yourself - and the planet - a world of good. Growing and eating locally grown fruits and veggies minimizes greenhouse-gas emissions by cutting out food transportation, decreases pesticide use and maximizes flavor and nutrition. Why? "Locally grown foods are fresher because they are picked when ripe, not before," explains Lynn Novorska, MOVE!® Dietitian Coordinator. "Purchase from the farmer's market or look for the goods at the supermarket labeled 'local.' To save cost, buy produce in bulk at the peak season, freeze and use at a later date."
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VA Nutrition and Food Services support local food producers
Did you know that your local VA may be serving milk, bread, and produce that are procured from local small businesses? In fact, there is an emerging trend for VAs to procure locally grown produce for patient meal service. San Francisco, St. Louis,Mo., Martinsburg, W.Va., Clarksburg, W.Va. and the District of Columbia VA Medical Centers are gearing up for this year's farm fresh produce. Patients enjoy the fresh spring strawberries, asparagus, salad greens, and broccoli that hail the start of the season. Sandy Spicher, Martinsburg VA administrative dietitian remarks, "our patients love the looks and taste of our locally grown fruits and vegetables. They are glad that we are supporting our farmers."
Farmers markets at VA Medical Centers
"Did you know that out of 50 states, VA Medical Centers in 24 states have a farmers market?" asks Kimberly Thompson, a dietitian at the Memphis VA. "There are a total of 33 farmers markets on VA properties across the country."
With Veteran and community health in mind, Veterans Canteen Services are teaming up with many VA Medical Centers across the country to provide on-site farmers markets for easy access to fresh and local produce. This gives VA patients and their families easy access to local produce and a quick way to put their dietitians' advice into action.
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