How To Add More Fruits and Vegetables To Your Diet
It seems everywhere you turn health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
And why wouldn’t you? They are full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).
On average, 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.
Eating more vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some of that stubborn fat you have been holding on to. That is, as long as the vegetables are not breaded, fried or covered in cream sauce, and the fruit is not covered in sugar.
The question is not “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”
As a health coach, I’m chock full of amazing, creative and delicious ways to help you eat more fruits and veggies.
But before we dive in, I want you to start from where you are. If you are not used to eating any fruits or veggies, start out with eating two servings per day, and build up from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking you need to change your entire diet in one day. Wherever you’re at now, I challenge you to increase it by two servings 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 “sneaky,” but I’m all about your health, so hear me out. These are also great strategies to use on kids who are picky eaters when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.
Some dishes are really 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 an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini or pepper into your soup.
- Love sandwiches? Why not double up on the veggies and add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce or cucumber to it?
- Like chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice up a stalk of celery, pickles, or some cucumber and mix it in.
- Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of the sugar for ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce? Trust me, you will not even notice.
- 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 vegetables like green beans, carrots, asparagus or peas, in the microwave or on the stovetop. When they are done, add a touch of olive oil and your favorite herb or spice. My favorites are garlic, basil, dill and rosemary.
- Use veggies as your sandwich “bread” by making a lettuce wrap. Not only will you get a healthy dose of veggies, but you will leave out all the carbohydrates from bread.
- 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, cumin or fresh herbs. You can also check the spice section of your grocery store for spice blends to add to your vegetables.
- Roast your vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite spices for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. I love to use salt, pepper, garlic and oregano on my roasted vegetables.
Eat them as snacks
- Why not throw a banana, apple or a couple of clementines into your lunch bag?
- Skip the chips and dip – Instead try some carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, guacamole, or even your favorite salad dressing!
- Love sweetened yogurt? Buy plain, and immerse it with fresh or frozen berries.
- If you have a food dehydrator, dry your own fruit and sprinkle it with cinnamon.
- Eat a serving of fruit with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter.
Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you’re at today. Two more, that is doable right?
And if you’re 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 favorites.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables. Try them out and see what you think:
Let me know your favorite ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet, in the comments below!