Post written by Half Your Plate friend and RD Laurie Barker Jackman
The United Nations has declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV). The goal is to increase awareness of nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet. The campaign also aims to direct policy attention to reducing the loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.
‘Fruits and vegetables, your dietary essentials’ marks the official slogan of the campaign highlighting the importance fruits and vegetables have in nutrition and overall health. Fruits and vegetables continue to be at the forefront of clinical practice guidelines to help reduce risks of chronic diseases. They have been shown to play a role in lowering cancer, obesity, and diabetes risk, improving heart health, gut health, and immunity.
Even with the research proving their benefits, we continue to not consume enough. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017, about 3.9 million deaths worldwide were attributed to not eating enough fruit and vegetables. WHO recommends consuming at least 400 g of fruits and vegetables each day to reap their health and nutrition benefits. Yet on average, we consume only about 2/3 of the recommended minimum amount. There are many reasons we do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and many ways to change this. One of them is increasing education and knowledge of the benefits of fruits and vegetables. HalfYourPlate.ca can help! Did you know that factsheets explain how to pick, store and prep fruits and veggies as well as highlight their nutritional value? They are free to download and are a great way to learn more about fruits and vegetables!
We know that fruits and vegetables are extremely perishable. As mentioned above, one of the goals of the IYFV is to direct policy attention to reduce loss and waste. Remember food loss and waste are not the same thing. Food loss usually takes place in the supply chain from harvest until arrival at the wholesale market. Food waste usually occurs in retail, the foodservice sector and households. We can all play a part to help save nutrients, money and profits. Focusing on the household, we can learn about storing and handling fruits and vegetables properly in order to preserve their quality and avoid premature spoilage. HalfYourPlate.ca is a perfect place to start! Check out our Home Storage Guide for more information on the best place to store your produce and more tips to reduce food waste.
There is so much more to learn about the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and many ways we can make a difference by helping people find ways to increase their consumption.
Find recipes to incorporate more fruits and vegetables here:
Learn more about a fruit or vegetable by diving into our Factsheets here:
Find ways to stretch your food dollar here:
Reduce food waste by storing your produce properly. Check out our Home Storage Guide here.
Is there a resource you need that you don’t see on our website? Reach out! We are building our materials everyday with the hope to get Canadians to consume more fruits and vegetables to reap their health benefits.