Everywhere you turn, health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables. “EAT YOUR VEGGIES” is a family dinner table mantra and who can forget “AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY”. The new phrase is “EAT THE RAINBOW’. It’s enough to make a vegetable and fruit hater run for the hills.
We can run, but we can’t hide. Most of us know that vegetables and fruits are vital parts of a healthy diet. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of many diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers as well as many chronic diseases, allowing us to live longer, healthier lives. And eating more vegetables can help maintain a healthy body weight and even help with weight loss by keeping us full longer.
Many of us are not asking “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”
As always start from where you are. If you eat very little or no fruits or vegetables, try for just one or two servings per day and build from there. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet in one day.
Here are a few helpful ideas on exactly HOW to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet!
SNEAK THEM INTO OTHER DISHES
OK, this one may be, shall we say, “sneaky,” but I’m all about your health, so hear me out.
Some dishes are super-easy to enhance with a bit of strategically placed produce. How about these ideas?
- Add ½ apple, a small handful of spinach, or extra berries into your smoothie.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to add 1 or 2 cups of greens into a smoothie. Try this Green(ish) Smoothie and see what you think. Experiment with a small amount of greens and then add more.
- Dice or shred an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini, or pepper into your soup.
This Fresh Vegetable Soup is full of vegetables(8 in fact) and fresh and dried herbs as well.
- Love sandwiches? Why not add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce or cucumber to them?
- How about chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice a stalk of celery and/or some onion and throw them in.
- Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce for ¼ cup of sugar?
- Accustomed to a small salad? Why not try a larger one?
A small side is just not enough of this hearty Harvest Salad made with kale, oranges, pecans, pomegranates and quinoa. Make it a meal!
- Making tomato sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms or peppers.
This Very Veggie”Bolognese” Sauce is loaded with veggies that you might not even notice.
MAKE THEM TASTE MORE DELICIOUS WITH A MEAL
- Steam some frozen corn and add a touch of olive oil and your favorite herb or spice.
- Use veggies as your sandwich “bread” by making a lettuce wrap. Collard green wraps are great too.
- Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try sautéing or roasting them with a little extra virgin olive oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger or cumin.
Try this Roasted Delicata Squash……..my all time favorite roasted veggie.
OPT FOR THEM AS SNACKS
- Why not throw a banana, apple, or a couple of clementines into your lunch bag?
- Ditch the chips and dip – Instead try some carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumber, or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, guacamole, or even your favorite homemade salad dressing?
- Love sweetened yogurt? Try plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries.
HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE…
Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you’re already enjoying. Just two more!
And if you’re not an instant fan, well, try again. Research shows that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before we begin to like a new flavor. Try it. You might just find some new favorites.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below. I love to hear from you.