Hey Gorgeous -
If you've been in the Village for a minute you know that I am 'Bout that Veggie Life =)!
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’re full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.) and they are yummy.
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).
Yes, when you power up food from God's abundant buffet, your body knows exactly how to use it optimally to give you the energy you need. It's a great way to crowd out processed (man-made) foods to decrease belly bloat and inflammation.
Your question is not “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”
Believe me, as a health coach I’m 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. You've probably heard the guidelines of 5-9 (1/2 cup) servings, but 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.
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 whole body 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?
- 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 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.
- Lay a bed of fresh spinach on your plate with a drizzle of olive oil and then put your hot food on top of it. The heat lightly wilts the spinach perfectly.
MAKE THEM TASTE MORE DELICIOUS WITH A MEAL
- Steam some frozen organic 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 or use a sheet of Nori (seaweed) to wrap your favorite veggie burger.
- Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try saute-ing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger or cumin.
- Roast a few trays of your favorite vegetables for meals, snacks and salads.
- Bake several Sweet Potatoes at the beginning of the week to enjoy for several days. Dust with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice - yum!
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.
- And lest we forget the celery boat. Load them up with your favorite spread - nut butter, guac, hummus, tuna or salmon salad, cashew cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc. - and add a fruit topping like raisins, pineapple, mandarins, etc.
Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow (if not - today!). 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.
Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below.
Blessings & XO!