Did you know that only 1 out of 10 adults are eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day? In general, it is recommended that adults eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables. To see the exact recommended amounts broken down by age and gender, check out the Be Well Fruit and Veggie Serving Fact Sheet on my Resources page.
Over the past week or so, I have been conducting a social media campaign on Facebook (@bewellwithdianna) and Instagram (@bewellhealthcoaching) to encourage people to eat more vegetables. Not only are vegetables delicious, but adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet can have several health benefits. For example, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with important vitamins and minerals, can lower blood pressure, prevent certain types of cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve gastrointestinal health, and have a positive impact on blood sugar. Sounds pretty great, right?
If you are not used to eating a lot of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you may be wondering where to begin. Here are 5 tips on ways to add fruits and veggies to each part of your day.
Try some berries or bananas as a topping to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt. Add vegetables to an omelette or frittata. Blend a combination of fruit and vegetables into a delicious smoothie, like this one.
Pack fruits and vegetables as snacks. Spice things up a little by trying a new yogurt-based dip with fruit or a flavorful hummus with your raw veggies. My favorite is Ithaca lemon beet hummus. Cut up veggies in advance and store them in the fridge for easy access and place a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter so it is the first thing you see when you enter the kitchen for a snack.
Opt for a veggie packed lunch like a salad, vegetarian chili, quinoa bowl topped with roasted veggies, or a Mediterranean veggie wrap.
Try vegetarian meals by substituting vegetables for meat in your favorite dishes (e.g., chili or lasagna – try this one, it is delicious). Replace carbohydrates with vegetables like zoodles and cauliflower rice. Bring a vegetarian side dish to your next party or BBQ. Order the vegetarian option from your favorite restaurant.
Vegetables like zucchini, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato can be baked into cakes, pies, and muffins. Fruit is a great dessert option, either raw (nothing better than a slice of watermelon on a warm summer day) or baked with a scoop of ice cream.
Following these easy steps can help you meet (or exceed) the daily fruit and vegetable recommendations. Until next time, eat some plants!
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.