Baskets of Nutrition: Why Gardening Is Your Best Friend for Health

The accessible garden at Altru’s Medical Fitness Center is now in full bloom and the first of our produce is ready for harvest. Our 14 garden group members are enjoying fresh-from-the-garden sugar snap peas, multi-colored string beans and zucchinis.

MFC Garden

Studies show that gardening promotes physical health, mental health and better nutrition. Garden chores can burn up to 200 calories per half hour. For your comfort and safety, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you’re on your knees, use a cushion.
  • Keep your back straight and don’t sit on your heels.
  • Stand and stretch your legs every 10 minutes or so.
  • Remember to bend at the knees and hips.

MFC Tomato

Gardens yield baskets of nutritious food. All adults should get about two and a half cups of fruits and vegetables each day. While this may seem like a lot, here are a few tips to help you meet the recommendations:

  • Try new preparation methods. Consider grilling vegetables rather than steaming them.
  • Experiment with new foods. Try snacking on pea pods instead of carrots and celery.
  • Turn cooking into a family activity. Get the kids involved.
  • Remember: all fruits and vegetables count. Try to choose from a variety of colors.

MFC Peas

The garden group members get to enjoy the fresh produce, as well as participate in cooking demonstrations focused on healthy eating. The two recipes we will be demonstrating to our garden group are a stir-fried spring vegetable dish that gets its zing from Sichuan peppercorns, and a pasta dish that is a delicious way to fit healthy greens into your diet. Get the recipes:

(For more tasty recipes, visit

For a tour of our accessible garden or to learn more about other programs, feel free to stop by Altru’s Medical Fitness Center or call 701.780.2516.

Adam SorumAdam Sorum is a Medical Fitness Specialist at Altru’s Medical Fitness Center, an ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and group exercise instructor. He is the North Dakota State Captain of the Medical Fitness Association. He has over a decade of experience helping people with various health conditions exercise in a safe and comfortable manner. In his free time, Adam enjoys spending time with family and friends playing foosball, fishing, hunting and cooking.

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