If you still crinkle up your nose when eating Fruits and Veggies, then the thought of adding more to your plate may not sound so appealing. However, even if you don’t love them, remember that Fruits and Veggies are nutritional powerhouses and your body needs them to thrive. They provide high amounts of nutrients for a low amount of calories. Eating nutrient-dense foods is linked with healthy body weight, greater energy levels, and a lower risk of chronic disease.
Recommend intake of Fruits and Veggies
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you should ‘strive for five’ servings of fruits and vegetables daily (about 2-3 cups daily) and fill up half your plate with them. To make it super-easy for you, we’ve got four fun and quick ways to fit more produce on your plate. No more excuses!
Juice your way towards a healthy life
When included as part of a healthy diet, ‘juicing’ is one of the easiest ways to get in most of your fruit and veggies needs before lunch rolls around. The term ‘juicing’ refers to the process of using a machine that extracts the juice from whole fruits or vegetables so you can drink your veggies and fruits instead of eating them. The one drawback is that the process leaves the fiber and nutrient-rich fruit skin left behind. Therefore, you still want to work some whole fruits and veggies into your diet. However, investing in a juicer is still a great way to get more produce into your diet. And you’ll be surprised at how tasty they can be!
The summer and fall months are the perfect time to get some fresh air and head to your local outside market. As they say, we eat with our eyes. Enjoy the sensory experience of touching, smelling, and looking at the fresh produce at the market. Get friendly and talk with your local farmers about the best way to use the foods (they know a ton!). Then bring back your fruits and vegetables and share the story of where they came from with your family.
Benefits of different colored fruits and veggies
The more colorful produce you can include in your diet, the more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber you will receive. Instead of trying to limit ‘bad’ foods, focus on the vibrant fruits and vegetables you might have ignored. Make a game out of it, Start by aiming to include two different colors in each meal. When you’ve mastered that, try to include three different colors in every meal (and so on). Engage the whole family in this initiative and make a calendar to keep track of what colors you’ve tried on what days.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the health benefits of different colored fruits and veggies:
Many red foods contain lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
Colored from beta carotene, these foods may improve vision, support immune function, help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
Green fruits and veggies:
Loaded with antioxidants to reduce free radical damage within the body and decrease disease risk, fiber to support digestion, and micronutrients to support metabolism.
With colors attributed to flavonoids, Blue colored foods promote cardiovascular health and may stimulate neurological function.
If you like to cook, then finding ways to switch out ingredients to add in more veggies and fruit is the perfect way to healthy up your plate. Here are some ideas to make a quick and easy food plate. Puree-cooked cauliflower, squash, or red peppers and stir them into sauces, mashed potatoes, pot pies, or even mac and cheese. Or shred or grate fruits and vegetables down. Grated zucchini and carrots are perfect for meatloaf, turkey burgers, and meatballs, adding both moisture and nutrients to the dish. For visual inspiration use Pinterest or other social media apps.
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