Yes, it seems everywhere you turn health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
You totally get it.
Yes, they are full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).
Yes, people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer, healthier lives. Not to mention protecting their bodies and minds from just about every chronic disease out there.
Yes, eating more vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some fat (as long as you do not bread and fry them, or cover them with cream sauce).
Your question is not “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”
Believe me, as a health and nutrition coach I am chock full of amazing, creative and delicious ways to help you eat more fruits and veggies.
And before we dive in, always start from where you are. If you are not used to any fruits or veggies, try for just one or two, per day. Build up from there. Do not get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet in one day. If you overwhelm yourself, you will not stick with it! Wherever you are at now, I challenge you to increase it by one or two, per day.
Now, let’s dive into my 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 am all about your health, so hear me out.
Some dishes are super-easy to enhance with a bit of strategically placed produce. What do you think of these ideas?
● Add ½ apple, a small handful of spinach, or extra berries into your smoothie.
● Dice or shred up an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini or pepper into your soup.
● Love sandwiches? Why not add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce or cucumber to it?
● Use a lettuce wrap, instead of bun- you will taste the meaty deliciousness more!
● How about chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice up a stalk of celery and throw it in.
● Love to bake? Substitute ¼ cup of the sugar for ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce?
● Used to having a small salad? Why not try a larger one?
● Making tomato sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms or peppers.
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.
● Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try sautéing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger or cumin.
OPTING 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 carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, salsa, guacamole, or even your favorite salad dressing?
● Love sweetened yogurt? Buy plain, and immerse it with fresh or frozen berries.
Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you are at today. Just two more.
And if you are not an instant fan, well, try again. Research shows that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before actually beginning to like a new flavor. Try it; you might just find some new faves.
You can do it!
Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below.