Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! Do you ever find it challenging to get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet? We all know we need to eat lots of them, but sometimes it’s just hard to come up with ways to make sure we’re getting as many as we need.
Just how many servings of fruit and veggies do we need, anyway? No surprise here, it varies from person to person. If you’d like to know the recommended amounts for you you can go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit (for fruits). Click on the Daily Fruit Table tab to see the recommended number of servings. For veggies, just go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables and click on the Daily Vegetables tab. Both of these tabs lead to tables that are broken down by age groups to help you make sure you’re getting the right number of servings for the stage of life you’re in.
Now that we know how many we need, let’s look at ways to get enough of them.
Easy Ways To Add More Fruits And Veggies
- Store your fruits and veggies up at eye level instead of in the crisper drawers. Have you ever been to the Farmer’s Market or Grocery Store and loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables, only to throw them away a week or two later? That used to happen to us all the time. We would put it in the drawers and forget all about it. Now I keep the produce up where we see it every time we open the refrigerator door. That keeps us from forgetting about it and letting it go bad before we can eat it.
- When you purchase fruit or vegetables that need to be prepped, do it when you get home from shopping, (or if, like me, shopping takes your last ounce of energy, make a point to do it the next day). This not only helps you eat more of “the good stuff,” it can help cut down on your meal prep time each day.
- When you’re prepping your fruits and veggies, cut some of them to have as snacks and store them in air-tight containers. You could even divide them up into snack-sized servings so all you have to do is grab and go.
- Use vegetables in your dips. Spinach dip is one great example of a way to get a little extra veg – Just mix 16 oz. of light sour cream with a 10 oz. package of thawed and squeezed dry frozen spinach, a can of water chestnuts (finely chopped), and a package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix and you have a delicious dip for whatever veggies you want to dip. If you’re an eggplant fan, Baba Ghanoush is another great veggie dip that’s made with vegetables. For another dip that includes veggies, check out my Mediterranean Dip.
- Add extra vegetables to soups. Of course, you could also just add a cup of vegetable soup to a meal.
- Add chopped veggies to your morning eggs. Some veggies that go great with eggs are broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. I usually sauté the veggies for a few minutes before I add the eggs in order to let them cook some and so that I can pour off any water they release so the eggs don’t get runny.
- Puree leftover vegetables and add them to sauces. This not only adds more vegetables to your meal, it can add more flavor as well. I love to add roasted mixed vegetables to my spaghetti sauce to give it more depth of flavor.
- Try veggie “noodles” instead of regular pasta. If you have a spiralizer, you can make noodles out of all kinds of different vegetables. One of my favorites is noodles, made with zucchini. They cook quickly and taste delicious!
- Mash up avocado and use it to replace mayonnaise as a spread on sandwiches. Of course, you can just skip the sandwich part and have avocado toast if you like.
- Drink green smoothies. This is a great way to get fruits and vegetables, and unlike juicing, with the smoothies, you get the whole fruit and green leafy vegetable. This gives you that all-important fiber.
- Keep some frozen vegetables on hand for those times you don’t have fresh ones available. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones, and are often cheaper and more convenient (especially since they’re usually already cut up for you).
Getting enough fruit and vegetables in our diets can often feel like a struggle, but with a little planning and creativity we can make it easier. Our bodies will thank us for it!
What are some of your tips for getting more fruits and veggies in your diet? Please share!