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October 23, 2012 06:06 PM

Options For Eating Five-A-Day

sioux falls, sd

As the weather gets cooler, there are fewer options for fresh fruits and vegetables. But that's no excuse to not get your five-a-day because there are options for eating fruits and vegetables in the fall and winter months.

Murlyn Bickel spends plenty of time in the fresh fruit and vegetable section at the grocery store.

"Yes, my wife sees to that," Bickel said.

But Bickel has noticed fewer options as we get further into the fall season.

"We do eat canned fruit," Bickel said.

That's just one alternative.  Dieticians say you can also try frozen or dried fruit.

"Some of the things we want to consider though when we're picking a dried fruit is the potential for added sugar or added fat," Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian Jennifer Colgan said.

Colgan says you should look at the food label to find out whether something's been added, especially saturated fat. You should also check the serving size.

"Often our serving size is very small, like a quarter or a third of a cup. We also have condensed nutrients, as well as calories.  So there are more calories for a smaller quantity than we would get in fresh fruit," Colgan said.

Turning to canned fruit, it has fewer calories and doesn't cost as much.  But some nutrients are often lost in the canning process.

"Some of the things to watch for in canned vegetables is sodium content.  And considering that they are canned, they're often reduced fiber content.  So we just want to watch for those things," Colgan said.

Nutrients aren't lost in frozen fruit.

"Frozen is nutritionally comparable to fresh in terms of fruits and vegetables," Colgan said.

But you want to make sure you don't lose nutrients by heating frozen vegetables for too long or in too much water.

Along with fruits, there are also several ways you can incorporate vegetables into your diet. The same guidelines apply. Colgan says you should also eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, rather than the same five a day every day. 

Colgan says another good idea it to mix dried fruit with trail mix, salads, or whole grain cereal. That will help spread out the calories.

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