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Michigan Apple Committee provides resources for eating healthier at home

MAC’s Official Dietitian encourages apple consumption as part of a healthy diet

LANSING, Mich. – The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an increase in home food preparation with more families sitting down for meals together. According to a recent study by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), this trend toward more home cooking will last beyond the COVID crisis as many of us are now viewing home cooked meals as a solution for saving money and eating healthier. Michigan Apple Committee’s official dietitian, Shari Steinbach, MS, RDN, says that many people are now recognizing that a balanced diet, full of nutrient-rich foods, can support a healthy immune system to keep us well.

“Over the years, I have witnessed the transformation that healthy lifestyle and dietary changes can bring,” said Steinbach. “Whenever I speak to groups or individuals about healthy eating, I usually start with talking about the need for more fruits and vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just 1 in 10 adults consume the recommended amounts. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture to meals and are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.”

According to the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, more frequent family meals were associated with better dietary outcomes and family functioning outcomes.  Additionally, the FMI Foundation reports that during the global pandemic, 40 percent of American adults are cooking at home more frequently.

“Consumers are seeking easy, affordable ideas for healthy meals during these challenging times. Since Michigan Apples will be abundant in grocery stores and farmers markets over the next few months, they can stock up for snacks, or to include in weekly meal plans. Michigan Apples are not only delicious, but they contain many important nutrients like fiber and vitamin C,” said Steinbach. “Adding Michigan Apples to your diet is a simple, easy way to add amazing flavor to your meals while benefiting from their many healthy attributes.”

Steinbach provides tips, sample meal plans, nutrition information and more as part of her Healthy Living blog on the Michigan Apples website at https://www.michiganapples.com/Healthy-Living/Healthy-Living-Blog. In addition, she created a Retail Dietitian Kit as a resource for retailers to assist them in providing apple-specific nutrition information to their shoppers. Additional sections will be added to the kit later this fall.

“Shari has helped countless shoppers, retailers and fellow dietitians with her advice and the resources she has created for the Michigan Apple Committee. As people across the world become more intentional about healthy choices and nutrition, Shari is helping us to remind them that apples are the ‘original’ health food,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.