September 18, 2018

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Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

easy ways to eat more fruits and veggies

Remember when you were a kid, and mom wouldn’t let you leave without finishing all of those vegetables on your plate? Believe it or not, as a dietitian I wasn’t one of those moms. Because I knew the benefits of the good fruits and veggies, we exposed our kids to these foods as often as possible as early as we could. The younger they are, the more they learned to like them—even Brussel sprouts!  There’s good reason for people who to eat healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables.  They have a lower risk of getting cancer and other chronic diseases like heart disease.

More than likely you’re part of the 90 percent of people who aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. The good news is that all produce counts, which means canned, dried, fresh and frozen varieties can help you reach your goal. Everyone needs a minimum of five servings of fruits and veggies a day although the exact size of a portion of fruits or veggies varies by age and other nutritional needs for each individual.

Eating enough fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be difficult.  Consider these easy ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your everyday diet.

  1. Keep whatever fresh fruits you can visible. Instead of a candy bowl, showcase a bowl of apples or bananas.
  2. Whether fresh, frozen or canned, always have plenty of fruits and veggies on hand. It’s easier to make a healthy choice when you have something to choose from.
  3. Pack a snack. Buy snack-size fruits and veggies and throw them in a bag to take to work or send to school with your kids or separate out a portion of raw veggies and a small side of dip for a delicious snack.
  4. Hit up a farmer’s market. Get the freshest of fresh fruits and veggies at your local farmers market.
  5. Put them in foods you wouldn’t normally think to add them to. Add some carrots or scoop dried cranberries into your next batch of baked goods.
  6. Eat at home. Cooking at home gives you more freedom over what you include in your meals. Always plan for a fruit and veggie to accompany each meal—even breakfast!
  7. Mix it up. Fruits and veggies don’t have to be boring! Sauté veggies with olive oil, add your favorite spices or make a healthy dip.
  8. Buy them pre-packaged. If cleaning and cutting your fruits and veggies is keeping you from enjoying them, buy them prepared. It may cost a little more, but if it’s more convenient you may be more likely to eat them.
  9. Fill half your plate with low-calorie veggies. Bonus, save calories while enjoying something sweet. Serve up fruit for dessert!
  10. Include your children in grocery shopping. Let them pick out a new fruit or veggie to try every week to help establish healthy eating habits from the start!

So next time you sit down to eat, remember mom’s—and every dietitian’s—advice and eat those fruits and veggies. More really do matter!

Sheila is a registered dietitian at ACMC in Marshall