Before I get to today’s post I want to thank you for all of your wonderful comments on my last post after my first biathlon! I’m still sore, actually, but I really can’t wait for it again. It won’t be anytime soon, but I’m more motivated to stay in shape and push myself even harder when I do my workouts, every day. I seriously needed that motivation because I was getting extremely bored and tired of my workouts. Now I have a goal in mind and that is to eventually do a triathlon…..
Today I’m going to talk about how to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet. A while ago a friend ask me for some tips on this very subject. Starting today you will no longer be able to make excuses for not getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. Here are my tips for consuming 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Don’t believe that canned and frozen fruits and veggies are less health Sure, canned fruits have more sugar and canned vegetables have more sodium, but that’s why we have strainers and water to rinse them off (you can omit about 40% of the sugar and sodium by straining and rinsing). And frozen? They are often loaded with even more nutrients than their fresh counterparts.
- Don’t force yourself to like certain fruits and vegetables because of something lame you’ve heard on TV or in a magazine. All fruits and vegetables are good for you, period. Keep the ones you do like around all the time. Brussel sprouts may be incredibly healthy, but if you don’t like them, don’t force yourself to eat them! Broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower are just as good for you.
- Create your favorite dishes, but just make them a bit healthier by adding extra vegetables and/or fruits(Afterall, many nutrients aren’t absorbed without the help of some fat!)
Example 1: Loaded sweet potato fries with black beans, red pepper, avocado, and cheese. That’s about three whole servings of vegetables!
Example 2; Turkey meatballs, with spinach
Example 3; pizza with lots of extra veggies (the right side was Nick’s. Ahem….he doesn’t always take my advice)
- Fruits and vegetables are perfect foods to eat when you are full but you still want something to munch on. Find something you like, and eat it!
Examples; carrots and celery with hummus, cucumbers with salsa, oranges, apples and dessert hummus (beans, my friends!), dried fruits, or these delicious vegetable chips below (HINT: if you want the benefits of vegetables in a chip, look for veggie chips that are actually made from veggies, not veggie powders)
- Remember, theChooseMyPlate logo is just a guideline. Be creative in making half your plate fruits and vegetables. Mix your foods together for a combination of protein, grains, dairy (or dairy alternatives) and veggies/fruits!
- Pack raw veggies and fruits for snacks at work, or look for the fruit-based snack bars(HINT: Larabars are a great example, but there are many others out there too. Look for real fruit, not just fruit juice concentrate, in the ingredient list)
- smoothies are a perfect way to get at least three servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Example: This smoothie has almost three full servings of fruits/veggies; banana, blueberry, sweet potato, orange pulp and spinach/dark greens. And did you notice that this smoothie includes all the different colors of produce?!
- Be creative! Who says you can’t have pumpkin or sweet potato with your oats?
And who says you can’t add spinach, kale, sweet potato or pumpkin to your smoothie, like the above photo?
Who says you can’t eat the pulp leftover from making orange juice?
Who says you can’t put broccoli in a quesadilla?
Who says you can’t add spinach to polenta, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it?
- Last, but not least, enjoy the fresh produce that is bountiful this summer. It’s almost a sin to ignore it.
QUESTION: What are some of your tips for including more fruits and veggies in your diet?