Bite Into This! 5 Tips and Tricks for Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are cornerstones of a healthy diet. Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, these nutritional power players add necessary nutrients and provide proper nourishment.  The question is, with how healthy fruits and vegetables are, why don’t people always eat enough of them?

For some, it’s that they don’t like the taste; others don’t know how to prepare them and some will even buy them and keep them in the fridge long enough that they go bad and get wasted. In the spirit of National Nutrition Month’s theme, Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle, we will discuss ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into meals as well as how to prepare them for snacks to keep handy throughout the week.

So, you don’t like fruits and veggies…

If your problem is that you don’t like fruits or vegetables, it’s a good idea to try new things as well as new cooking methods. For instance, a roasted Brussels sprout tastes much different than a steamed one. Other vegetables that are wonderful roasted include but are not limited to:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini

If you normally have fresh fruit, trying it grilled is a fun alternative. Pineapple and peaches are a few fruits that grill very nicely and work well for a side dish or as a healthy dessert.

Disguise your fruits and vegetables

When picky family members don’t like to eat vegetables, sneaking them into dishes can be a great way to include them in meals. Pureed squash goes well into pancakes and mushrooms or grated carrots can go nicely into pasta sauce without compromising the flavor.  And the best way to get picky family members to eat more fruits and vegetables is to lead by example. When you are a healthy role model for family members, it helps to make them want to eat healthier.

When looking for ways to add fruits and vegetables into meals, breakfast is the perfect place to start. Fruit such as blueberries or strawberries go well with oatmeal or Greek yogurt and granola as a healthy parfait.  Smoothies are also a healthy breakfast option and can involve fruits and vegetables. For example, a smoothie that includes non-fat plain Greek yogurt, raspberries, spinach and 100% orange juice will taste fruity and you won’t even be able to taste the spinach. When having an omelet for breakfast, adding vegetables instead of breakfast meat will make it much healthier. Also, when having breakfast in a restaurant, many will allow the substitution of tomato or cucumber slices for toast or breakfast meat.

Try snacking on something healthier

Between meals, snacks can be a great time to eat fruits and vegetables. Apples, bananas and oranges make easy, portable snacks with minimal preparation. Carrots or red peppers with hummus or a low fat vegetable dip are also very healthy options.

Make a fun salad!

Moving onto lunch or dinner, a salad is an excellent choice because you can add other vegetables and even fruit. A spinach salad with walnuts, strawberries, red onions and balsamic vinaigrette with heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil is a satisfying, healthy meal that incorporates both fruits and vegetables. Chilis with beans, carrots, onions and tomatoes or vegetable soup are also healthy options.  Vegetable or fruit kabobs or a thin crust pizza topped with vegetables are also healthy ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.

Prep your produce

If you have a tendency to buy fruits and vegetables and they go bad in the refrigerator or on the counter, wash them when you get home from the store and prepare them for later meals and snacks. Keeping washed, cut fruits and vegetables in plastic bags or containers in the fridge will make it much more likely that you will eat then when you are hungry.

The goal is to have at least 5 half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Try some of the aforementioned tips and tricks to increase your intake and bite into a healthy lifestyle today!

Photo credit: Jojomzz

If you enjoyed this blog, check out these posts about National Nutrition Month:

Still not a fan of fruits and veggies? Check out this video that will help you enjoy some popular unhealthy dishes, in a healthier way.

 

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