You know how important it is to eat and fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, but how many are you actually eating? If you’re like most people, you might eat just a couple here and there, which does not nearly amount to the daily recommended amount of 7 to 13 servings. However, there are some simple and even sneaky ways to load up your plate, and your kids’ plates, with extra fruits and vegetables each and every day.
Today’s guest writer, Krisca Te, shows us how all it takes are some simple modifications to some of your favorite recipes, and the willingness to try something new (gasp!); and you will be able to enjoy tasty – and nutritious – additions to your weekly menu.
Here are six ways to get more fruits and veggies into your diet:
#1: Start the day off with fruit. Whether you enjoy a bowl of oatmeal in the morning or dry cereal, boost your fruit intake first thing in the morning by adding fresh or frozen fruits to the mix. Fresh strawberries, cherries, and other berries can be a great addition to oatmeal or dry cereals. You can use virtually any type of fruit to make a breakfast shake or smoothie, and add some protein to the mix to turn this into a healthy meal or snack. Try adding fresh fruit to plain Greek yogurt, kefir, or cottage cheese so you don’t have to add extra sugar (which you don’t really need anyway) which comes in the flavored versions.
#2: Eat a salad at every meal. It’s easier to add more of those much-needed fruits and veggies to your diet when they’re just part of your daily meals. Add a mixed fruit salad to your breakfast plate and enjoy a spinach or leafy greens salad with lunch and dinner. The sky’s the limit when it comes to putting together different combinations of fresh fruits and vegetables, and you can even add some grilled or roasted veggies to your savory salads.
#3: Leave cut up veggies in the fridge. When hunger strikes between meal times, trade those unhealthy potato chips, candy bars, and other processed foods for some fresh veggies. Have fresh vegetables like celery, cucumber, and carrots cut up and stored in containers in the fridge so you can just munch on them instead. Enjoy these snacks with a wholesome (preferably homemade) dip, dressing, or hummus to keep things healthy.
#4: Make your own sandwich spreads. You’ll be surprised to find how many vegetables can be mashed up and spread onto breads and crackers to add some flavor. Avocados can be made into a zesty guacamole, but you could also mash up squash and other softer vegetables to create a tasty sandwich spread or topping. You can also add chunks of tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini to the mix to add some flavor and texture.
#5: Try exotic fruit for a change. Don’t limit yourself to apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes when it comes to your fruit selections. Enjoy a fruit plate of exotic fruits like star fruit, papaya, mangoes, kiwi, and pineapple. These are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and will help you add some variety to your diet. Most of these fruits can be enjoyed alone, but you can also add them to yogurt, cottage cheese, smoothies, and cereals for a nutritious boost. You could also mix them with more traditional fruits to create a tasty jelly dessert, trifle, or mixed fruit plate.
|Every try a dragonfruit? Now that's exotic!|
#6: Add vegetables to baked goods. Chopped or grated veggies can be a great binding ingredient for certain types of baked goods. Carrots and zucchini work especially well for baking breads and muffins. You can also add these vegetables to stews and pasta sauces. Pumpkin and squash are also very versatile ingredients that you can use to make both sweet and savory goods year round, including muffins, cakes, cookies, and pies. Experiment with different types of denser vegetables to make some tasty and nutrient-rich baked goods this season.
See? Adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily meals really can be done in a way that is easy, inexpensive, and convenient—and delicious too! That’s the best part.
Thanks to Krisca for sharing these great tips!