Deciding to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet is an admirable resolution but not always an easy one to achieve.
It is easy to swap out your usual fries for a side salad or include an apple with breakfast, but you are likely already growing bored with these new changes.
The CDC recommends eating at least two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables a day, and hitting these intake goals is simpler than you think.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
With a little bit of planning and possibly breaking out food blenders, your five-a-day will quickly become a daily routine.
If you frequently open the fridge to forgotten fruits and vegetables looking well past their prime, prep work will become an essential task in your life.
Cutting up produce that won’t spoil in the fridge (skip tomatoes as they will get mushy or apples that will discolor) eliminates the inconvenience barrier that will put you off from using the food.
Pre-sliced vegetables can be thrown into a morning omelet or in a simple meat sauce, while fruits can be snacked on or used to make a delicious smoothie.
In addition, you are more likely to work through your weekly produce purchase when you have prepared everything to use immediately.
Try Something New
As all fruits and vegetables are seasonal, it is easy to get stuck in a rut if you rely on the same choices week in and week out.
By exploring outside what you are familiar with, you open up the opportunity to find something new while getting the necessary intake you need.
Choose a new fruit and veg once weekly at the height of their season. You are more likely to enjoy them with the freshest and fullest taste at their peak.
But only stick to one new item at a time, and this will eliminate the risk of anything going bad before you have had a chance to dig in.
The Snack Pack
Over the years, thanks to a toxic diet culture, snacks have gained a bad reputation. But the truth is, a healthy snack or two in your day helps curb your hunger in between your main meals and provides a boost of energy and essential nutrients.
Make all your snacks revolve around fruits and vegetables. By preparing in advance, you can keep snack-size containers in your fridge ready to grab at any time. Additionally, keep a fruit bowl on your countertop for a quick fix.
Don’t Skip Dessert
Dessert tends to be an indulgent sweet treat to cap off a meal reserved for special occasions. But fruit-based desserts offer a light, refreshing, and naturally sweet way to end a meal and give you an extra serving of the good stuff.
Blend fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt to create delicious fruit popsicles, or take your favorite fruity options and half dip them in decadent dark chocolate to enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Blend It Up
The easiest way to include a heap of fruits and veggies into your diet is to put them in your morning smoothie. Combining the two foods will give you the delicious taste of your favorite fruits while benefiting from the flavorless boost of vegetables.
It may be tempting to go the extra step and include fruit juice as your liquid, but most brands have a very high sugar content. So instead, stick to water or a low-fat milk or a plant-based vanilla protein ice cream powder option.
For a twist, use frozen fruits to create an icy smoothie bowl to start your day.
Many people hesitate to use frozen options as they think fresh is best. And while fresh fruits and vegetables have a completely different texture that some prefer, frozen variations share a very similar nutritional makeup and, in some cases, are better than their fresh counterparts.
By storing a few bags of different fruits and vegetables in the freezer, you can quickly grab them for a quick dinner or throw them into your smoothies. There is no preparation involved, and the convenience factor will see you reach for them time and time again.
Include a Small Salad
A salad becomes a gold mine for delicious flavors rich with vitamins and nutrients when done right. So forget the iceberg wedge drowning in ranch and cheese and instead turn your attention to green leafy beds topped with colorful and crunchy toppings.
There are endless salad recipes available online, and including a side salad to every evening meal, you get a daily serving with minimal effort. Embrace seasonal options and experiment with hot and cold salads throughout the year.
You don’t have to turn to a life of being vegetarian to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, but cutting out meat once a week will force you to get more creative in the kitchen and help you prioritize your food choices.
A popular routine is opting for a meatless Monday meal. Vegetable soups, hamburgers made with mushroom ‘patties,’ and spinach gnocchi are just the start of the many ideas you can try for your meatless meal.
Use this opportunity to explore new flavors and foods you have never tried.