Yes, it seems everywhere you turn health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
You totally get it.
✅ Yes, they’re full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).
✅ Yes, people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer, healthier lives. Not to mention protecting their bodies and minds from just about every chronic disease out there. This became a big part of my husband Brady’s anti-inflammatory diet.
✅ Yes, eating more vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some fat (as long as you don’t bread and fry them, or cover them with cream sauce). According to Shawn Stevenson’s book Eat Smarter, “adding more diverse fruit and vegetables is connected to fat loss.”
Your question is not “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”
Believe me, I’m a recovering picky eater who used to hate vegetables. My experience as a mom trying to get her kids to love vegetables and as health coach, I’m chock full of amazing, creative and delicious ways to help you eat more fruits and veggies.
And before we dive in, always start from where you are. If you’re not used to any fruits or veggies, try for just two per day. Build up from there. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet I one day. Wherever you’re at now, I challenge you to increase it by two per day.
Now, let’s dive into my helpful ideas on exactly HOW to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet!
SNEAK THEM INTO OTHER DISHES
OK, this one may be, shall we say, “sneaky,” but I’m all about your health, so hear me out.
Some dishes are super-easy to enhance with a bit of strategically placed produce. What do you think of these ideas?
- Add ½ apple, a small handful of spinach, or extra berries into your smoothie.
- Dice or shred up an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini or pepper into your soup or scrambled eggs.
- Love sandwiches? Why not add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce or cucumber to it?
- How about chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice up a stalk of celery and throw it in.
- Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of the sugar for ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce?
- Used to having a small salad? Why not try a larger one?
- Making tomato sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms or peppers.
- Chop some spinach as a base for your leftovers. You won’t even realize you’re eating it!
MAKE THEM TASTE MORE DELICIOUS WITH A MEAL
- Steam or Roast some frozen broccoli and add a touch of olive oil and your favorite herb or spice.
- Use veggies as your sandwich “bread” by making a lettuce wrap.
- Roast veggies on a sheet pan with some avocado oil and your favorite seasoning.
- Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try sautéing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger or cumin.
- Throw some shredded carrots, broccoli, onion, and minced garlic in a skillet with leftover chicken for an easy stir fry. Use coconut aminos as a sub for soy sauce!
OPTING FOR THEM AS SNACKS
- Why not throw a banana, apple or a couple of clementines into your lunch bag?
- Ditch the chips and dip – Instead try some mini bell peppers, carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, guacamole, or even your favorite salad dressing?
- Snack on some frozen berries or frozen grapes as a treat.
Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you’re at today. Two more.
And if you’re not an instant fan, well, try again. Research shows that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before actually beginning to like a new flavor. Try it; you might just find some new faves. You can also experiment with various ways to prepare them. Roasting vegetables was a game changer for me!
You can do it!
Let me know your favorite ideas in the comments below.