Better Health and Gardens

Most Americans don’t eat the USDA recommended 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Following these guidelines can improve your health. Southside Community Land Trust is offering this web-based Better Health and Gardens Program in partnership with Mary M. Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN of Brown University and Miriam Hospital to help make it easier and more affordable for you to stay healthy.
 On this page you will find a guide for some healthy fresh foods and how you can use them in quick and delicious recipes. The average cost to purchase the foods needed for these recipes is $1.24/ serving.

While it’s true that whole wheat pasta and brown rice are more expensive than white pasta or white rice, buying these products in bulk or when they are on sale can make them more affordable. Vegetables too can be made more affordable by growing them yourself in the garden. When that is not an option, you can buy them frozen or canned to save money without losing nutrition.

What health concerns can be regulated by a plant-based diet?

Type 2 Diabetes is an illness that causes glucose to be poorly used by the body.  A diet rich in vegetables and moderate in carbohydrates is most effective in regulating type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrates, found in many foods, are made into glucose after being eaten. Many vegetables are low in carbohydrates. Therefore, eating fewer carbohydrates by switching to eating vegetables helps regulate blood glucose and some symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

High Blood Pressure/ Hypertension puts pressure on the heart, increasing the risk for heart attacks. Sodium, a mineral known to increase blood pressure, is found in high quantities in processed foods like fast food. Potassium, on the other hand, decreases blood pressure and is found in most fruits and vegetables. So by switching to a diet rich in fresh vegetables, you can decrease the level of sodium in your diet while increasing potassium. These two changes together help prevent hypertension.

High Cholesterol/ High Triglycerides in the blood increase the risk for heart disease. Cholesterol and Triglycerides are found in many foods coming from animals like red meat and dairy. By changing some meals to use plant-based proteins, you can lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.

What foods can I use at home to reduce my risk for disease?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- This oil is different from others, as it has been shown to reduce risk factors for chronic health problems like heart disease and some cancers.  It also makes vegetables taste delicious.

Whole Wheat Pasta and Brown Rice- Whole grains help you feel full longer and help reduce risk of heart disease. These products have most of the vitamins that are taken out during processing, so you get more nutrition in your diet.

Vegetables- Vegetables that you pick ripe from your garden are especially high in vitamins and nutrients. When it is not possible to eat fresh from the garden, canned or frozen vegetables are often just as healthy as fresh ones and come ready for cooking. This makes regularly eating vegetables at home easy.

Plant-Based Protein- The typical American eats more animal protein than needed. Many people do not need to eat meat or seafood every day as excess protein is stored in the body as fat. Plant sources like beans, whole grains, and potatoes contain a healthy amount of protein. 

Click here for a list of recipes that are healthy, low-cost, and delicious. They all use the ingredients listed above and will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For a list of healthy, affordable foods to grow or buy, click here

Click here for easy ways to cook common healthy vegetables.  

Haga clic aquí para leer como cocinar fácilmente unas verduras saludables y comúnes. 

Figuring out the proper serving size of food can be difficult. If you’re unsure how much food you should be eating, click here.


Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat can improve your health. 

Better Health and Gardens can help make eating healthy both affordable and delicious!