Fruits & Veggies More Matters

Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L

September is Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Month, organized to help you focus your attention on eating MORE fruits and vegetables!  More than 90% of both adults and children do not eat the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPlate nutrition guide. 

Why eat MORE fruits and veggies?

  1. Color & Texture. Fruits and veggies add color, texture … and appeal…  to your plate.
  2. Convenience. Fruits and veggies are nutritious in any form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, so they’re ready when you are!
  3. Fiber. Fruits and veggies provide fiber that helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy.
  4. Low in Calories. Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories.
    1. May Reduce Disease Risk. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
    2. Vitamins & Minerals. Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.
    3. Variety. Fruits and veggies are available in an almost infinite variety…there’s always something new to try!
    4. Quick, Natural Snack. Fruits and veggies are nature’s treat and easy to grab for a snack.
    5. Fun to Eat! Some crunch, some squirt, some you peel … some you don’t, and some grow right in your own backyard!

10.  Fruits & Veggies are Nutritious AND Delicious!

Don’t forget!  Tomorrow is the last day to post a picture on your Instagram of you or your child trying a new food.  Use #IheartLTC and @lowcountrytherapycenter to be entered to win a Pikachu lunchbox! 

A note on feeding therapy:

A feeding disorder occurs when an infant or child has difficulty eating or refusing to eat. Feeding problems can be a result of underlying medical complications, but can also be related to hidden sensory and/or behavioral issues, or oral-motor deficits.  Symptoms of a feeding disorder may include: refusal, swallowing difficulty, taking a long time to eat/drink, vomiting, choking, gagging, behavioral problems during mealtimes, or just being a "picky" eater.  Lowcountry Therapy Center conducts feeding evaluations using a multi-disciplinary team approach that involves an occupational therapist and also a speech-language pathologist.  Sometimes a “behavior” (like refusal, picky eating, or meltdowns during mealtime) can be the result of underlying sensory or oral-motor deficits.  For example, jaw weakness can make chewing meat very difficult.  If a child refuses meat and fibrous vegetables, and is made to eat it anyway, it can cause fatigue or frustration, which will lead to behaviors!  Similarly, if a child has poor sensory processing to detect where a food is within the mouth, it can lead to gagging: a very scary experience when oral motor control is lacking!  By addressing these underlying problems, children will have the skills necessary to handle food, which will help them to be successful at trying new foods.  

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