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Anniversary Highlights Importance Of Key Nutrition

Anniversary Highlights Importance Of Key Nutrition Initiative

New Zealanders have counted their way to over 300 million servings of WATTIE'S(r) canned and frozen fruit and vegetables as part of a programme based on a new on-pack count device. Monday marks the first birthday of the ongoing Wattie's Fruit & Veg Each Day programme, where each Wattie's canned or frozen fruit and vegetable product displays a 'count device' showing how many serves each product contains.

Wattie's Fruit & Veg Each Day reminds us that canned and frozen fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh and dried, contribute towards our daily intake. Nutritionist for Wattie's, Julie Dick, says the programme is simple to follow and eating more fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest healthy eating changes people can make.

She says, "With cans and frozen packs displaying the innovative 'count device', more and more people realise canned and frozen do count! Even better, by using canned and frozen fruit and vegetable products, as well as fresh and dried, people will be easily increasing their daily intake."

Carole Gibb, NZDA Executive Officer says the initiative's key message to eat more fruit and vegetables is well-supported by dietitians around the country. She says, "Encouraging New Zealanders to eat better by eating more of all types of fruit and vegetables is a positive health message which dietitians are promoting strongly. By providing useful resources and information, people who need to eat better are getting help to do that."

Launched in September 2002 by Wattie's and the New Zealand Dietetic Association (NZDA), the servings are calculated based on Ministry of Health Food and Nutrition Guidelines.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For example, the red pigment in tomatoes provides a powerful antioxidant; lycopene, the orange in apricots provides beta-carotene and the green in peas provides lutein, all of which have health promoting properties. Fruits and vegetables are also generally filling, so eating a lot of them means energy-dense foods in the diet can be replaced with lower energy fruit and vegetables.

At the time of the Wattie's Fruit & Veg Each Day launch, a comprehensive health professional information programme was undertaken and a variety of resources produced. This year, new information for schools as well as fact sheets are being created. For copies of the resources visit www.watties.co.nz

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