Everyone is told to eat fruits and vegetables, beginning at a young age. The up to date dietary guidelines recommend Americans to get at least five cups of fruits and veggies today. Many people are surprised by this because an astonishing amount of them don’t even get half of that. Because of today’s fast and processed foods, they usually take priority over health foods in some households. It can be hard to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet if you’ve never done it before. There are plenty of ways you can “sneak” them into your diet and after getting used to it, you won’t ever crave processed foods again!
Fruits and vegetables are essential for our bodies to function. They provide us with fiber, keeping our digestive tract healthy and preventing digestive illnesses. They are anti-oxidant rich and will possibly prevent cancer and other chronic diseases such as heart disease. Fruits and veggies are filled with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function. If you eat them regularly along with other healthy foods, you are likely to maintain your weight throughout your lifetime. All of these are great reasons to learn to incorporate them into your diet.
At breakfast, you can add fruit to your regular piece of toast, or eat it separately. Add berries to your oatmeal or cereal. Chopping vegetables and adding them to scrambled eggs is a great way to get an early morning energy burst. Make a fresh smoothie with your own ingredients such as: fresh fruit, skim milk or yogurt. You can even add vegetables to the mix by blending them along with the fruit. Limit juice but if you must have it, make sure it’s 100% instead of sugary.
Incorporate a handful of fruits and veggies to what you eat for lunch. If you’re a sandwich eater, load it with fresh vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, sprouts, onions or peppers. If you crave unhealthy, crunchy snack foods this is a great way to get rid of that habit. Salads are already a healthy, veggie filled lunch food (if you eat it without croutons and tons of fattening dressing) but you can make it even healthier by adding fresh fruits. Fresh fruits that go well with salad include: grapes, apples, oranges or pears.
Make ½ of your plate full of fruits and veggies at dinner. Add them to recipes by chopping or slicing them. Experiment with different ways of cooking vegetables like steaming, roasting or stir-frying. Add side salads to your dinners. Eat veggie pizza instead of plain cheese pizza. Mashed potatoes, rice and other dishes taste great with vegetables mixed in. Instead of eating dessert after dinner, make it a priority to eat a piece of fruit.
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, water and several nutrients. Because of their make-up, they keep us full for a longer time. You will become accustomed to eating healthy and will eventually not crave unhealthy food as often. If you substitute fruit for sugary snacks, it is likely that your sugar cravings will subside. Try the ideas listed above to integrate fruits and vegetables into your diet and decide which ones you like best. If you enjoy the healthy food you eat, you will stick to it.
Brianna Elliott is a third year dietetics student. She had grown a passion for nutrition in her years of studying. She loves fruits and vegetables and thinks the amount of people who don’t get enough of them is devastating because of the good they do for your body. Brianna also writes blog for PSCLife.com – a health & nutrition e-commerce store which carries Tyme Zyme enzyme supplement and Nutamax’s Cosamin ASU for sore joints and achey muscles.