Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting in those Fruits and Vegetables

If you read over my monthly goals you know that I am working on getting more fruits and vegetables into my diet.  Some of my favorites are pineapple, watermelon, cherries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and zucchini.  I try to get in all of them everyday, but sometimes I don’t, so I am working on changing that.  So I thought I would discuss some of the benefits of having fruits and vegetables in your diet and ways to get more in your diet.
  • Cut up, peel, slice, and prepare the fruit or vegetable so it is easily accessible.  Taking the time to do this is really key to getting them all in.  If they are all ready to eat, then they are easy to grab as a good snack.  Think fruit salad or veggie plate style.  I like to cut up my pineapple and watermelon right when I get home from the store.
  • Health Benefits.  Eating fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, protect against certain cancers, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, may decrease bone loss, and are of course important for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. (source)
  • Try and eat a variety of colorful produce.  This can be tricky.  I have a tendency to eat the same fruits and vegetables, but RD David Grotto states in a Women’s Health article that, “you’re going to be limited as far as health benefits because you are not getting all those other colors.”  Women’s Health has nifty online tool that gives you details about the different colored produce, so check it out.
  • Try something new.  Everyone has that fruit or vegetable that they didn’t like as a kid.  Mine was spinach, especially steamed, squishy spinach.  I now eat spinach about everyday on my sandwiches and in salads.  I don’t really like it steamed plain either, but if it is mixed with something else it is good.  Another great new vegetable I tried was brussel sprouts.  I was kind of skeptical about trying it, but if they are cooked the right way they are delicious!  Steamed are good, but roasted or lightly sauteed are fabulous.  Brussel sprouts may be my new favorite vegetable!  All of this is to say that you should try something you haven’t had in awhile; who knows it could become your favorite. 
  • They have tons of nutrients.  Fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin A, E, & C.  But what are the benefits of all of these things?  There is a great chart on the CDC website that you can look at here.  It tells you the details of each nutrient and which fruits and vegetables you can get it from.
  • Make a healthy vegetable or fruit cake/bread/pie.  So you can certainly make fattening pies and cakes and breads, but there are some smart options for these things as well.  A good carrot cake, zucchini bread, or banana bread is pretty delicious.  And there are also some great fruits crisps and breads that won’t ruin your day by having a piece.  
  • Add fruit to a smoothie.  This is a really simple way to get some fruit in your diet and it tastes delicious too.  Toss in some berries, mangoes, or bananas in your smoothie to get some extra boost of nutrients and flavor.
  • Make an all veggie meal.  I have mentioned it before but having a no meat meal every week is good for you and the environment.  So what to make?  A pasta is always easy and a whole wheat pasta will make it feel like a substantial meal.  I like homemade tomato sauce with zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, onions and whatever else you want.  You can even make squash spaghetti.  I have also made a vegetarian version of my Creamy Chicken Zucchini Pasta with no chicken and by adding other veggies. 
(There are some good recipes out there, but a few of my favorite places to go are Oh She Glows, Skinny Taste, and Kath Eats Real Food.  They have some great recipes that use lots of fruits and vegetables so you should check them out to get some great meal ideas.)
So as you can see getting those fruits and vegetables in is important.  There are lots of different ways to get more produce in your diet.  It takes some practice, but once you do, it will become a habit you won’t want to quit.  
(After reading over this again I think I am going to go eat some of those cherries I have in the fridge!)
Do you get in your daily fruits and vegetables?  What is your favorite fruit and/or vegetable and how do you prepare it? 

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I get TONS of veggies in my diet daily, but I really need to kick it up with the fruits. I also don't eat enough different kinds of veggies, I need to branch out more. Thanks for the tips! :)

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