A ripe, juicy peach that tastes like a piece of heaven. An ear of corn so good it brings a smile to your face. A watermelon that tastes sweeter than any candy you've ever eaten.

These are just some of the reasons why you and your family should embrace Fruits & Veggies More Matters Month. Many of us love the taste of fruits and vegetables but more than that, we love the way fruits and veggies make us feel — healthier. We also love knowing that we're giving our bodies and the bodies of our loved ones vital nutrients to help us grow and remain strong.

According to Fruits & Veggies More Matters, "90 percent of adults and children do not eat the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

There are many easy ways to fix that.

  • First, when you have a meal or a snack, make sure you add a serving or two of fruits and vegetables to it. It's easy to do, will make you feel healthier and will replace a junk food snack that you might be tempted to eat. Also, you don't have to grab a stalk of broccoli or a carrot to accomplish this. You can drink 100% fruit juice, eat a few handfuls of dried fruit, make a fruit smoothie or open a can of fruit to get on board.
  • You could also consider eating fruit — some grapes, an apple — when you are craving something sweet to munch on. Even if you still want to grab that cookie or bowl of ice cream afterwards, you will probably eat less of it, which is a step in the right direction.

The bottom line is that the obesity rate in American is soaring and one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of obesity is to increase the amount of fruits and veggies you eat.

Plus, adding fruits and vegetables to your diet has been shown to keep us healthier. For instance, many fruits and veggies contain fiber, which can lead to a reduction in coronary heart disease, and fruits and vegetables with large amounts of calcium can help keep our bones and teeth strong. Also, diets high in potassium can help prevent high blood pressure.

  • One common complaint about eating fruits and vegetables is that they can go bad within a few days so you must eat them quickly or else you're wasting money. This is true — the shelf life of fruit is much shorter than pre-packaged snacks loaded with preservatives. One way to not waste fruit is to eat more of it! Switch out a sugary or salty snack or with a piece of fruit and a vegetable and you'll eliminate the waste.
  • Another complaint is that fruits and vegetables are not easy to eat on the run. Sure, a peach or watermelon might get a bit messy and no one wants to fool with a banana peel. But you can easily pack a plastic container with baby carrots or pieces of celery or apple slices and blueberries and have a delicious, healthy, good-for-you snack.

Many of the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are particularly critical for children. After all, if we can create a solid foundation for them of healthy eating, it will give them a big head start towards leading a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of this extra effort are endless.

  • Try this for your kids — instead of a salt or sugar based snack, try cutting up some cucumber slices and pieces of green or red pepper for your children. They might love the crunchiness and tastiness of these veggies. Similarly, they might enjoy a few pieces of pineapple or cantaloupe. If you give your kids a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, you're bound to find some they truly like.
  • In addition, you could go one step further and create a small fruit and vegetable garden in your backyard or on your porch to help your children see how easy it is to grow fresh, quality food and the satisfaction you feel from eating it. This has other benefits, too. Everything that you grow and eat will save money on your weekly grocery bill.

For more information on planning meals with fruits and veggies, which fruits and veggies are in season and how to take an anti-obesity pledge, click here.