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Monday Motivator Commentary: Crow Wing Energized

The recent Crow Wing County Health Survey found 40 percent of men only eat zero to two fruit and vegetables a day.

This is far short of the recommended amount and nearly double the percentage of women only eating this few. Some of the Crow Wing Energized Community Leadership male team members share their advice regarding eating fruits and vegetables.

Nathan Bertram, Crow Wing County Community Services

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? Beets or Carrots — or all sorts of vegetables and fruits mixed in a salad.

How has the number of or types of fruits and vegetables you eat changed over the years? I remember when I was young and I wouldn't touch half of the vegetables and even some fruits, they were gross. Now it seems like I am always experimenting with new vegetables and ways to cook them. We often eat Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or cabbage on the grill or steamed. I wouldn't have touched those as a kid. It's funny though, all of our kids love eating these vegetables and often ask for more. I think it's because we have just built it into our diets and now has become the norm.

What would you say to encourage other men/boys to eat fruits and vegetables? They put hair on your chest....haha. Try them a different way than the way you have had them in the past, maybe you'll like them prepared in a different fashion.

Nathan Hamilton, Essentia Health

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? Fresh Green beans

How has the number of or types of fruits and vegetables you eat changed over the years? After I started growing my own garden I was able to increase how many vegetables I was eating.

What would you say to encourage other men/boys to eat fruits and vegetables? Keep trying different ways to eat fruit and vegetables. Just don't give up on them after eating them one way. There is always a different way to prepare them.

Matt Kilian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? I always look forward to the day when cherries appear at the grocery store. It's a sign summer has arrived in Minnesota.

How do eating fruit and vegetables impact your health? The benefits are well-documented, but overall it just feels good when I make good choices. I hardly ever regret eating fruit instead of French fries, but I often regret eating French fries instead of fruit.

What would you say to encourage other men/boys to eat fruits and vegetables? I'm not going to be featured in Men's Health magazine anytime soon, but my humble advice would be to start small with a few easy additions or substitutions in your diet. After a while, all those little changes can make a noticeable difference in your weight, energy and overall health.

Adam Rees, Essentia Health

How do you ensure that you are eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day? I am one of those Crow Wing males struggling to eat the recommended fruits and vegetables a day. While I like both food groups I prefer salty snacks with a crunch. I do best at home because my wife has removed the unhealthy snacks and left a big bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or bags of carrots in the fridge. This makes the healthier choice easier.

What is your biggest barrier to eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day? My work eating habits could use improvement and I find it very hard to pass up on homemade treats and bowls of candy coworkers bring. I seem to make better choices when I am a part of a team trying to reach a weight loss objective. For me, removing unhealthy temptations and increasing healthy options makes a big difference. Recently, I started bringing a bag of carrots and leaving them by my computer and I finally saw my weight modestly drop.

Richard Slieter, Community Behavioral Health Hospital

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? I like most fruit and probably eat apples and oranges more frequently than other fruit. That said, I do not always eat fruit each day. Although I almost always have a 16 oz. glass of orange juice and Greek yogurt for breakfast. Like fruit, I like most vegetables. Potatoes are one of my favorite and I prefer to eat them raw (like an apple), but have less than three servings each week. On average, I eat 1-2 servings of vegetables each day.

What is your biggest barrier to eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day? Will and discipline. I'm usually in a hurry and often skip lunch or get a chicken salad sandwich. Carol and I generally eat a balanced dinner, with one or more vegetables, 4 oz. of chicken, fish or meat.

What would you say to encourage other men/boys to eat fruits and vegetables? Seriously consider the long view of health and, when we do that, we'll be more intentional about taking care of ourselves, including eating, exercise, sleep, relationships with others, etc.

Mark Ostgarden, City of Brainerd

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? It's a tie between apples, oranges, grapes, watermelon, and bananas.

How do you ensure that you are eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day? I bring an apple and orange to work every day and have fruit or a vegetable for lunch.

How do eating fruit and vegetables impact your health? During the work day I get hungry later in the morning. Eating fruit fills the void and keeps me away from donuts and pastries.

Crow Wing Energized is a grassroots effort in a community health and wellness movement aiming to help engage, equip and empower community members throughout all ages to make the healthy choice the easy choice in and around Crow Wing County. The program is a public/private partnership with the Statewide Health Improvement Program with Crow Wing County and Essentia Health working together to take the lead. Goal areas include: healthy choices, mental fitness, workplace wellness and community connections. Go to www.CrowWingEnergized.org for more information.

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