How to Add More Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet

fruit (and vegetable) saladWe all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Especially vegetables. And while those super health nuts make it seem so easy (yes they are crunchy, but carrots and celery do not make good substitutes for chips), what is a real person supposed to do when they actually want to eat more vegetables without trying?

Follow these easy and practical tips:

Try new things.

We all know what broccoli and green beans taste like, but when you hear words like kale and fennel, you think they’re just weird ingredients you won’t know what to do with once you buy them. While some fruits and vegetables require special instructions, most are just things that are probably not commonly grown where you live, and pretty easy to prep and cook.

Try to make it a habit to try at least one new fruit or vegetable at the grocery store. Maybe it’s not exotic, it could be something you’ve never tried before. After doing this for awhile, you’ll develop a list of produce items that you and your family will love, and you won’t resort to something bad because you’re tired of corn and green beans.

Cook things differently.

Have you ever heard someone say they don’t like tomatoes, but they love marinara sauce, and thought “but it’s just tomatoes!”

While that is true, this is a perfect example of how something can seem like a completely different food depending on how you cook it. If you have always thought you hated green beans because you remember eating canned ones as a kid and haven’t eaten one since, I urge you to go to the store and buy some fresh ones. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Roasted is not the same as boiled, fried is not the same as sautŽed. Point is, if you try some sautŽed spinach and don’t like it; try it raw in a salad or added to a soup. You’ll probably find that you like a lot more things than you think.

Take advantage of prepped fruits and veggies in the produce section.

If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables because it’s just too much work to slice and dice them, this is a good option. You’ll pay more for them, but if it makes you eat your veggies, the cost is well worth it.

Add fruits and veggies to things you already eat.

You don’t have to create new dishes and vegetables don’t just have to be side dishes. Add them to omelets and pizza and pasta dishes. The more the better, but even a little is better than nothing.

Drink them.

Want a super quick and easy way to get almost all your fruits and veggies for the day in one shot? Make a smoothie. You’ve probably had fruit smoothies with bananas and berries, but did you know you can add raw spinach to the mix and you won’t even be able to tell? You can make green smoothies with things like leafy greens or even broccoli. Throw in some fruit and besides the color, you won’t be able to tell your drinking your vegetables.

Remember that you don’t have to like everything.

You’ll probably find a few things you don’t like; don’t force yourself to eat them. Eat the ones that you enjoy. Eating should be pleasurable; if you concentrate on the foods you enjoy, you’ll be much happier.

If you struggle on a regular basis to get your daily quota of plant foods, I urge you to try these tips starting right NOW. Not only will you start to look and feel better, but it’s been proven that people who eat diet high in fruits and vegetables live longer and healthier lives because of it.

What are some of your favorite fruits and vegetables?

Photo by jenny downing

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