Eat Your Veggies Day is June 17

National “Eat Your Veggies Day” is June 17th. Kelly Bristow is the global nutrition affairs lead for Bayer, and she says the company is pushing for more access to healthier foods for hungry people. Better food and healthier people start with more veggies.

“Oftentimes, we get so focused on what foods that they’re wanting to consume less of that we avoid or miss the boat or the picture on seeing what we should be getting more of, and that’s really where fruits and vegetables come in. So, Americans across every age group are under-consuming the recommendations for fruits and vegetables, and it can be one thing that we can do to more positively fit health in our day to day. So, research really supports that people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of the overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk for some chronic diseases. Another thing I like to point out is the diversity of colors that fruits and vegetables bring, so each color group is going to actually bring different nutrients in different nutrition. This summer, trying to find different ways to add in dollars to meals and snacks can be one thing towards supporting a healthy diet. Instead of always thinking about what to remove, it’s starting to think that positive shift of what can we add.”

Vegetables by Bayer is working hard to make sure hungry people get more access to fresh foods.

“Bayer does have three different divisions, and so, across all three division, we have a bold vision of “Health for All and Hunger for None.” And so, there’s an extremely important role that vegetables and fruits have to play in that. Without having access and availability of fruits and vegetables, we’ll continue to see nutrient deficiencies and non-communicable diseases in these populations. So, we have an initiative called the Nutrient Gap Initiative, which is a cross-divisional collaboration with our consumer health division that really focuses to help fill nutrient gaps for more than 50 million people across the globe, and that includes our farmers. And we’re really working to provide access to fruits and vegetables, as well as micronutrient supplementation, especially during periods like pregnancy, when that supplementation is important.”

Bristow is a registered dietitian for Bayer Crop Science, and she’s focused on encouraging people to eat more vegetables.

“Having gone to school for many years to study human nutrition, get to spend a lot of time thinking about fruits and vegetables, and how can we get consumers to eat more of them, because we are under consuming them as a whole food category. So I get to wear a couple of different hats within there, one being to connect fellow dietitian, which I am to agriculture, but then also getting to think through strategy around, how can we increase consumption of fruits and vegetables? What kind of nutrition is available in fruits and vegetables, and how can we communicate that out to our farmer customers as well as to consumers.

Of course, healthy foods start with healthy farmers.

“It’s also for us to encourage farmers to not only think about how they’re growing that nutritious crop for the end consumer, but also sharing information why it’s important for them to eat the fruits and vegetables they are growing as well. Because if farmers aren’t healthy, we’re not able to have them in the field growing nutritious foods. So we’re really working at Bayer as well through education and connection, through our vision of health for all, and hunger for nine to also encourage farmers to take a step back and think about their own health.”