In honor of Fresh Veggies Day and celebrating Pride Month by eating the rainbow, Vetri Community Partnership’s Community Dietitian, Tara Bledsoe MS, RDN, LDNtalked to us how we eat the rainbow here at Vetri Community Partnership!

Here at VCP we say that all forms of vegetables count – whether they are fresh, frozen, or canned, they all have a place in a nutritious diet. So why are we celebrating fresh vegetables today on National Fresh Veggies Day? Many reasons, of course! 

Fresh Veggies Day is all about encouraging people to eat more vegetables, which is something we love to do here at VCP! This important food group provides our bodies with essential vitamins and minerals, which help our bodies function properly. We also benefit from phytonutrients found in vegetables, many of which act as antioxidants in our bodies that prevent cell damage and decrease our risk for chronic diseases. Vegetables are also great sources of fiber, a nutrient that helps us maintain gut health and manages cholesterol and blood sugar levels.  

Fresh Veggies Day lands at the beginning of summer, coinciding with the start of Farmer’s Market season here in Philadelphia. At this time of year in Pennsylvania, there are so many fresh, locally grown vegetables that are becoming available! Increasingly, SNAP benefits are accepted at Farmer’s Markets around the city. Buying vegetables at a Farmer’s Market is a great way to support your local farmer while also getting fresh vegetables at their peak ripeness.  

Another way to celebrate Fresh Veggies Day is to start a garden. Here in the Philadelphia area, mid-June is a great time to plant vegetables like summer squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and cabbage. Whether in a community garden space or in your yard, in raised beds or in planter pots, there are lots of different ways to grow your own vegetables.  

Having fresh vegetables washed, cut, and ready to go increases your likelihood of consuming more of this food group. Munch on veggies for a snack with a flavorful Greek yogurt dip or make some vegetable skewers to cook on the grill during your next cook-out. Both ways are great hacks to increasing your intake of fresh vegetables. And don’t forget to eat a rainbow when it comes to your vegetables. Eating a variety of colorful vegetables ensures that you get all the nutrients your body needs!