How many fruits and vegetables are in your daily diet? Do you think you’re getting enough? Recently the U.S. Center for Disease and Control health officials reported that, in 2009, 67.5% of adults ate fruit less than two times daily, and 73.7% ate vegetables less than three times per day. There is definitely work to be done across the country in terms of making fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable so it is easier for everyone to increase their fruit and veggie consumption. But, there’s also a number of simple little ways you can eat more fruits and veggies in your daily diet!
- Smoothies. An easy way to load up on 3 or more servings of fruit at a time, smoothies are a great grab n’ go breakfast! Try adding different combinations of your favorite fruits with a bit of plain Greek yogurt for a tasty protein boost. Check out my daughter and I making her favorite smoothie together!
- Get your greens. Try keeping a large green salad on the table at dinners and as a staple in your lunches to ensure an extra bit of veggies. Add whatever veggies you and your family love, top it with a delicious salad dressing that’s lower in calories, and you’re all set.
- Add in veggies. Every meal of the day can get a boost from an extra dose of veggies, but it’s great to boost your breakfast, since it’s usually low on the veggies. Toss chopped veggies into your morning omelettes, mix in pumpkin or sweet potato to your oatmeal, or throw some fresh baby spinach into your smoothie!
- Go for easily portable fruit. Bananas are perhaps the easiest, as they come in their own ‘package’, but can get bruised easily, so keep them at the top of your bag or purse. Other great fruits for snacking on the go include apples, kiwis, and grapes.
- Sip on soup. With the fall weather approaching, soups are a great way to pack in more veggies, especially if you make them yourself. Try roasted butternut squash and apple soup, broccoli and potato soup, or sweet potato and corn chowder. Potatoes are particularly useful, in that they can help thicken up soups without adding in any cream.
- Dip ‘em. If you’re not looking forward to eating some chopped veggies as a snack, try buying a few of your favorite dips the next time you’re at the grocery store. Hummus, made from chickpeas, is now widely available in a variety of flavors, including roasted garlic, red pepper, and sun-dried tomato. You can also try a bean dip or spread, or simply your favorite nut butter.
- Cook extra. When you’re making a big family meal, cook extra veggies so that you can have them available in the fridge for the next couple of days, making it easier to heat them up quickly for a snack. If you’re firing up the BBQ, toss on some peppers, zucchini and onions to get that grilled flavor. If you’ve already got the oven heated up, toss some potatoes, onions, and carrots on a baking sheet to get that delicious roasted flavor.
- Add them to baked goods. If you’re a fan of baking your own homemade treats, you probably know how flexible some recipes are. Most muffin, cookie, or bread recipes can accommodate an extra dose of veggies – think zucchini bread! Be careful to choose a recipe that’s low in sugar and calories – you can swap applesauce and canned pumpkin in many cookie recipes to replace most of the fat.
What about you? What are your tricks to increase your fruits and veggies?
Assistance provided by Megan Skinner