UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and with the growing season finally here, locally grown food is more accessible which means more opportunities to add fruits and vegetables to our plates.

Rachelle McPherson, a registered dietitian with Aspirus Health, explains how many servings of fruits and vegetables we should eat each day.

“It’s generally about two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables. You want to try and incorporate these throughout the day, whether that be, look at my lunch. I brought a little clementine here’s a serving of fruit. I have some, orange is the color of the day, I’ve got some bell peppers in a sandwich bag. So these are little ways that I incorporate the daily five. You don’t have to eat a salad every day in order to get your servings of fruits and vegetables, but just little things; have fruit for dessert after a meal that can be a really easy way to get in that extra serving,” said McPherson.

There is a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables, so are there better ones for you than others. McPherson goes on to explain.

“So it’s important to know that nutrients in fruits and vegetables, they vary. It’s important to eat a variety on a regular basis. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. So be sure to opt for colorful choices. Things like dark green, red, purple, blue, orange, eating that rainbow. Everyone is going to have a different taste preference when it comes to fruits and vegetables, so what I recommend is enjoying the produce that you like and then trying something new, really experiment with it.”

There are many health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.

McPherson: “Research does suggest that eating fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of chronic disease and may help against certain types of cancer. This is largely in part because we know fruits and vegetables have these phytonutrients and these antioxidants that really help with free radicals. In addition to the fiber component that there is in fruit, we also have these types of phytonutrients and antioxidants that we can’t get anywhere else.”

Aspirus has launched another year of its Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program which helps provide patients with access to fresh produce. Patients are identified by the Patient-Centered Medical Home team and Health Resource Team as having a need, whether it be food insecurity, low income, chronic conditions, or lack of access. Eligible patients are given a “prescription” to use at one of many participating farmers markets in the Aspirus service area.

Weekly farmers markets throughout the U.P. are starting to open:

  • Houghton | Tuesday | 4 pm – 7 pm
  • Hancock | Thursday | 3 pm – 6 pm
  • Calumet | Saturday | 10 am – 2 pm
  • Lake Linden | Friday | 4 pm – 7 pm
  • Gogebic County | Friday | 4 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Gogebic County | Tuesday | 4 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Iron County, Wis. | Wednesday | 3 pm – 6 pm
  • Iron County, Wis. | Saturday | 10 am – 1 pm

For more information on the FXRx program or to see if you qualify, visit https://www.aspirus.org/fvrx-program.