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It seems everywhere you turn, health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
You totally get it.
Yes, they’re 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 don’t 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 make his work for me?”
How can I add more fruits and veggies?
Believe me, as a health coach, I have plenty of amazing, creative and delicious ways to help you eat more fruits and veggies.
But before we dive in, always start from where you are. If you’re not used to any fruits or veggies, try for just two per day. Build up from there. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet in one day. Wherever you’re at now, I challenge you to increase it by two per day. If you try too much at once, your body will revolt and so will your brain because of the sudden changes. Choose the easiest time of day for you to add them. If it is easier to have some fruit with breakfast and add a salad for lunch, then you have solved the first challenge.
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’m all about your health, so hear me out. I do these still, even though most of my kids are older. Just ask my oldest about the homemade spaghetti sauce that they couldn’t tell was loaded with veggies.
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?
- How about chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice up a stalk of celery and throw it in.
- Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce for 1/4 cup of sugar?
- Used to having a small salad? Why not try a larger one?
- Making tomato sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms or peppers.
- Steam some carrots, spinach, squash, or other veggies to puree and add to that spaghetti sauce.
- Zucchini bread with some added shredded carrots bring in more color and nutrition.
- Morning Glory Muffins filled with shredded carrots.
- Saute peppers, onions, and spinach to add to your morning eggs.
MAKE THEM TASTE MORE DELICIOUS WITH A MEAL
- Steam some frozen broccoli or green beans 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 sauteing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger or cumin.
- Roast some of your favorites with balsamic vinegar or olive oil and herbs
Here is a great infographic that gives you some ideas of herbs and seasonings to increase the flavor.
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, guacamole, or even your favorite salad dressing?
- Love sweetened yogurt? Buy plain, and immerse it with fresh or frozen berries.
- Make an afternoon smoothie with berries, spinach, and a banana
- Make a fruit and veggie popsicle
- Fruit and veggie mini muffins
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.
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 faves.
You can do it.
What two fruits or veggies will you add? Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below.