Fruits and vegetables are so great. They are super low in calories and super high in nutrients. They also have tons of health benefits. Eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies can lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, can protect against certain types of cancers, can help lower blood pressure, help decrease bone loss, and can help with weight management. Pretty cool, yeah?! Unfortunately, many people do not get near enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. I promise it is possible to get the recommended amount! Here are 9 tips to add more fruits and vegetables into you and your families diets.
*Click here to see what the daily recommendations of fruits and vegetables are for an average adult
1. Buy them and eat them! This tip may sound a little silly, but I can’t tell you how many times I have bought fresh fruits and vegetables and let them go bad. Plan to eat them. For example, if you have asparagus that is not going to last too much longer, plan it into your dinner tonight. Also, make sure you buy them! If you don’t buy them, you can’t eat them! When you go grocery shopping, go to the produce section first (before you are sick of being at the store and your one year old decides to run around like a mad woman throughout Wal Mart).
2. Cut them up as soon as you get them: If you cut up your fruits and veggies right when you buy them, and store them in ziplock bags or tupperware, I promise you will end up eating more. You may even trick your husband into eating more of them also…and liking it! Haha Don’t believe me? Try it! My husband likes fruits and vegetables, but he will not take the time to cut them up to eat them. A couple of weeks ago, I cut up a 2 lb container of strawberries, a fresh pineapple, and oranges, and put them in the fridge. The whole fruit dish was gonzo in just a couple of days! My husband asked me if I would do that more often. It works!
3. Put them in a place where you can see them: Try not to shove your fresh produce in the back of the fridge. For most people, when you get hungry, you eat what you see first. Make those fruits and veggies visible! If you can, put them eye level in the fridge or another visible spot, so they are the first thing that you see.
4. Eat them for snacks: Make a green smoothie, have veggies and a low fat dip or hummus, fruit with greek yogurt fruit dip, or just plain ol’ fruits and veggies. You really can add tons of fruits and vegetables into your diet by incorporating them at snack time.
5. Have a fruit bowl instead of a candy bowl on your counter top: Replace those candy jars with natural candy- fruit! Again, making fruit more visible will make you want to eat it more often.
6. Make vegetables the center of some of your meals: Meat is usually what most people plan their whole meal around. On some days of the week, try planning your meals around vegetables. For example, try a stir fry with lots of vegetables and add other foods to compliment it. Or, you could have a big green salad and add veggies, a little meat, and low fat dressing. The possibilities are endless!
7. Buy fruits and veggies that are in season: Not only will this save you money, but the in-season fruits and vegetables will taste much better.
8. Stock up on frozen and canned fruits and veggies: Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are very convenient and are still high in nutrients. Look for fruit that is canned in 100% fruit juice or water. Try to avoid buying canned fruit that is canned in syrup- this adds many unneeded calories and added sugars. Look for vegetables that are low in sodium. If they are low in sodium, they will say so on the front of the can.
9. Try new combinations of fruits and vegetables: Make fruits and veggies fun! Try different combinations of both! For example, try stir-frying mushrooms, squash, zucchini, green and red peppers, and onions together with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. You will get a variety of vegetables that taste great. Also, you can try different fruit combinations for smoothies, as a side dish, or even for a little dessert. My favorite fruit combination is strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries…mmmm!
I hope these tips will help you add more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Have fun and stay healthy!
P.S. Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!