January 16, 2014 by thehealthyheartcenter
By now you’re probably well aware of how nutritious fruits and vegetables really are for the human body and that their recommendations take up half of our plate each meal. This is equivalent to about 2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups vegetables per day. You also probably know this is not quite the usual American diet. What you may not know is they don’t just have to be sides to your entree. There are many ways you can increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables besides just increasing your portion size of broccoli next to your chicken. The following are some yummy tips if I say so myself.
- Make your own sweet treats with fruit!
Toss in fruit in the blender either frozen or with ice to create your own tasty smoothie. After all fruit naturally has a lot of sugar, so go for this kind of treat to satisfy your sweet tooth after a meal or as a snack.
- Bulk up with veggies
By adding vegetables to your pizza, wraps, eggs, etc. you are creating a fuller meal without adding many calories.
- Forget chips & dip
A plate of veggies/fruit with dip gives you that crisp crunch and is just as addictive but with great amounts of vitamins, minerals & antioxidants! Whip up a veggie tray for now AND later complemented by a tasty dip. Fruit is really delicious with yogurt. Apples and peanut butter is quite a combo I might add.
- Sprinkle the fruit on top
If you’re like me you may find yourself simply forgetting to grab a fruit throughout the day. What is easier for me is to simply add it to make things I enjoy even better (and sweeter!). Try some bananas and blueberries in oatmeal or on top of your cold cereal. When you grab a yogurt sprinkle some fruit on top to give it that extra kick. Adding fruit to salads is becoming popular as you can find some pretty good recipes like strawberries with walnuts and vinaigrette.
- Buy some frozen
This way you don’t have to worry about your produce going bad too quickly and about finding time to chop them up. How much easier can it get? These are great for quick smoothies, stir-frys, sides, snacks, etc.
- Try something new
Most of us get into habits and stick to the foods we know we like. Be adventurous and try something you haven’t before. The variety of fruits and vegetables out there is incredible and you could be missing out on something that could liven up your dishes. Some unique flavors could take a couple tries, some may be a favorite once they hit your taste buds, while others you may never want to have again. There is a wide array of taste, color and textures so you won’t ever get bored.
You can put those veggies on the grill and make veggie skewers. Cooking your vegetables in different ways actually changes how certain nutrients are readily available for your body and can be beneficial.
Honestly, it’s not as hard as you think to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet. You may be surprised at how you like their added flavor and texture. And best of all you won’t regret it since your body will be benefitting from the added nutrients working to enhance your immune function, work towards disease prevention, and overall health. Start experimenting and liven up your palate!