Eating more fruits and vegetables, it’s important! Interview with the Movement J’aime les fruits et légumes 5226 131774da-372d-4198-8508-7733610a19fe article Serge Serge Sur le terrain /media/wlpm1osk/manger_plus_de_fruit.jpg Alimentation saine 8/8/2019 7:55:22 a.m. Summer

When we're saying to eating more fruits and vegetables in life, I totally agree!

  1. Because I'm a leek... it would be dumb to ignore vegetables đŸ˜‰
  2. Also, because it's good for health, it taste great, it's fun to eat and there's so much ways to cook it out!

To speak about fruits and vegetables and good food, I met Mario Lalancette, Strategy and communication Manager at the Association québécoise de la distribution de fruits et légumes (QPMA). Such inspiring interview! By the way, QPMA is also the leader of the movement J'aime les fruits et légumes (JMFL) which Crazy Leek is a proud partner. In addition of being a nutritionist, Mario is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ), he has lots of expertise in the field of nutrition, health and foods and, just like myself, he's a real food fan and it shows when we speak with him.

Just like a good strawberries and feta cheese salad, meeting with him was so refreshing! No more chatting, I'll let you find out what happened in this interview with Mario đŸ˜Š

1. Since 2018, the campaign " J'aime 5 à 10 portions par jour " has become the movement J'aime les fruits et légumes. Why did such a campaign has become a greater movement? What motivated this change?

After 15 years, we wanted to give a second life to this campaign which had greatly marked the spirit of consumers. With the Movement J'aime les fruits et légumes, we wanted to create a real society movement to get even more voices to carry this message that it's good for your health to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, that it's easy and mainly, it's delicious! In fact, we want the optimal concumption of fruits and vegetables to become a social standard.

2. How is the movement different from the campaign with its actions and initiatives?

The concept of movement involves something greater than an advertising campaign. It's by adding ambassadors on social media and contributors a bit everywhere with different expertise that you'll achieve to get even more voices. Consumer also becomes an ambassador within his entourage by sharing his initiatives to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

3. Where do you see the movement in a near future?

Everywhere in Quebec! But here's a concrete exemple... In schools, a few years ago, there was milk cartons fro childrens, so that they have at least 1 portion of dairy products everyday. With the movement JMFL, our goal, one day, is to be like the next milk cartons, which is to offer 1 to 2 portions of fruits and vegetables to all childrens everyday. When we expose young children to fruits and vegetables, they'll be even more interested in discovering foods and they'll enjoy even more new flavors. It's a plus for health!

Un enfant mange 1 à 2 portions de fruits et légumes à l'école

4. Where did the first idea to promote cosumption of fruits and vegetables came from at the beginning in 2004?

In 2004, there wasn't any campaign to promote Quebec's fruits and vegetables. It's our administration board members which decided to invest our association's surplus in a campaign which would promote fruits and vegetables and inform consumers the importance to eat it daily.

5. Have you seen an impact of the consumption of fruits and vegetables after publishing the new Canada's food guide?

Since the release of Canada's food guide is recent, there's still no public studies showing that there's an increase in fruits and vegetables consumption. However, members of the QPMA (like Les Cultures de chez nous) attest that there's a real increase of fruits and vegetables sales. There's also the veganism and vegetarianism trend to consider since these 2 foods habits gives more importance to vegetables in this diet.

Augmentation de la consommation et de l'achat de fruits et légumes à l'épicerie

6. Has the QPMA been consulted to create the new guide? 

No, because Health Canada didn't want to take count of the food industry opinion for its thinking behind the new Canada's food guide. However, even before the release of the new guide, we wanted to stay away from the notion of portions to be less prescriptive and avoid to tell consumers they're in the obligation to eat 5 to 10 portions everyday. We understood that it's not always easy for people to know what a portion really means. We're really happy that Health Canada got the same conclusion. A portion in a plate is way easier to evaluate. Visually, it's simpler. 

7. What are the concrete benefits for someone to eat more fruits and vegetables?

There are many! Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. And many researches proves it, eating fruits and vegetables favorisethe diminution of many types of cancers, chronic disease and obesity, among other things.

We're also doing, for the very first time in Quebec, an economic impact study which revealed that if Quebeckers would eat one more portion of fruits and vegetables everyday, they'll be healthier and Quebec would save lots of money :

  • If 50% of Quebeckers would increase his consumption of fruits and vegetables of one more portion everyday, it's 4000 cases of diseases that we could avoid each year.
  • After 15 years, it'll be 450 millions of dollars that would be saved on health care system.
  • If 100% of Quebeckers were eating 5 portions of fruits and vegetables each day, it's 1,4 billion of dollars that would be saved on health care system after 15 years. 

There's tons of scientific studies which praises benefits for the health to eatmore fruits and vegetables. With this economic study, we also presently note numerous economical benefits which a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables would bring.

Avantages de manger plus de fruits et légumes : meilleure santé, économies, éléments nutritifs, antioxydants

8. Which little known fruits and vegetables would you suggest to try out?

I don't like to say that there's a fruit or vegetable better than another. There's no unknown products that I particularly favorise, it's the whole of fruits and vegetables that is fantastic! What's important it's to eat more depending seasonal arrivals. Take a look around public markets, find all possibilities and try out new fruits and vegetables each week.

Assortiment de fruits et légumes frais pour augmentation sa consommation de fruits et légumes

9. What are your favorite recipes to add fruits and vegetables to your alimentation?

Me, I really like to do salsas within which I can mix fruits and vegetables. I really like sweety salty foods. It's perfect to go with shrimps, fishes, tofu or even grils on BBQ. Often, salsa well garnished with fresh herbs can even replace a sauce. it set lots of flavors in a plate and it's so easy to do! It's a great complement to all sorts of plates and appetizers, it's amazing : a mix of colorful peppers, cucumbers, mangos, red onions, shrimps, lemon juice, mitn and coriander, it's so fresh... even more with dry white wine!

10. Can you tell us what's coming for the movement J'aime les fruits et légumes?

We're building a new Web site which will contain numerous informations about Quebec's fruits and vegetables and, which are disponible here.

For exemple, if you buy a kaki and you're wondering about its nutritional potential, what it taste like, how to prepare or cook it... our new Web site will answer all your questions! We hope to become a unique information center : the reference for fruits and vegetables in Quebec. What we want is that as soon as anyone has a questioning about fruits and vegetables, that they think about the movement JMFL.

We also have few secrets we can't tell for the moment, but it'll please you, that's for sure!

11. How can consumers help with the movement JMFL? Can they take part in initiatives or events?

By increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables of course! Obviously we want each consumers to become an ambassador for his entourage and talks good of fruits and vegetables. There will be lots of informations on our new blog which could be interesting and be shared over social media.

12. JMFL offers interesting tools on Web. Can you tell us more about it?

We made lots of guides and tools about Quebec's different fruits and vegetables. All those tools are disponible for schools, for exemple, so that a keen awareness towards fruits and vegetables starts from a young age.

Also, on the new Web site, there's also a place where people can make suggestions for new projects. If someone want to organise an activity to speak about fruits and vegetables at his neighborhood party or at an office event, we'll have the tools and ideas to help out. The new Web site is really meant to favorise people's engagement.

13. Lastly, what would you suggest to someone that do not have enough time or funds to prepare vegetables?

For lack of time, everything's about planning. If vegetables are already prepared, we've got more chance to set them in your plate. There are strategies to abate the lack of time :

  1. When back from grocery shopping make time to prepare fruits and vegetables.
  2. Involve your children when choosing vegetables, washing, slicing and choosing which one would be set in your plate over the week.
  3. No kids? You can easily prepare fruist and vegetables for the week, alone or with your partner, with good music and why not a good glass of wine! You have to make this activity interesting.

As for the budget, lots of consumer think fruits and vegetables are expensive.

When the new food guide came out, there was many commentators saying that it wasn't economically realizable to eat as much fruits and vegetables since prices are increasing greatly. Us, we know it's false. Each month,we're comparing price of common consumer products which people often buy without much looking up the price : potato chips, chewy bars, liquors, cereals, etc. Then, we look up how many fruits and vegetables portion we can get for the same price as the chosen products. It's impressive the amount of fruits and vegetables we can get for the same price. We got numbers of about 35 portions of fruits and vegetables for the same cost than a family size cereal box from a well known brand!

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often cheaper. They're great choices! Carrot, potato, turnip and even banana are products which the price doesn't really change over the year.

For ones saying vegetables are expensive, just like we saw with an 8$ cauliflower and a 6$ celery, no ones force you to buy it. In a medium size supermarket, there's about 2500 fruits and vegetables products listed. We can easily find alternatives, options are endless!

Few tips to save on fruits and vegetables

  1. Looking up sales in the circular.
  2. Prioritize seasonal products and local products.
  3. Cook more fresh produce than processed products. 
  4. Picking up your own fruits and vegetables, plus it's an amazing activity.
  5. Choose fruits and vegetables of a different maturity, this way they'll be ripe and ready at different moment over the week.
  6. Avoid food waste, that's the expensive thing!

Brief, the world of fruits and vegetables only has positive!

What I understood of all this...

Serge Sanchez Sanschagrin

What we should remember with all this, is that eating more fruits and vegetables, it's only for the best. Next time you'll pass by the grocery store, choose yourself one fruit or vegetable that you never tasted or tried before! That's what I did with the chayote one time, which is like a mix between a zucchini, a cucumber and a honeydew melon... it's cra-zy! Au gratin, sautéed with butter, grated in a salad or into pieces in a cheese fondue, you can't be wrong! I wish you great discoveries too! 

See you soon,

- Serge