Liz's Blog for a Healthier, Happier Life

Top 10 Tips For Fitting More Fruits & Veggies Into Your Day

If you want to live a long, healthy and deliciously, wonderful life you need to eat your fruits and vegetables.  They’re good for your heart, eyes, brain, bones, skin, waistline and all your body parts!  Here are ten tips to help you meet the recommended quota of 7 to 10 servings daily…

1.  Prioritize & Plan:

If you don’t make fruits and vegetables a priority in your life, chances are they won’t be.  Act as if your life depended on meeting your daily quota, because guess what?  It does!

2.  Know Your Serving Sizes:

It’s easier to load up fruits and vegetables than you might think.  A large, meal-size salad, can contribute as many as three to four servings at one sitting.

          One serving is equal to:

½ cup (125 mL) of any raw or cooked fruit or vegetable

1 medium-size piece of fruit, like an apple or orange

1 cup (250 mL) of salad or raw leafy greens

½ cup (125 mL) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice

¼ cup (60 mL) of dried fruit   

3.  Eliminate The Competition:

If your house, car, purse, knapsack, or office is filled with not-so-healthy-foods, the good stuff doesn’t stand a chance!  Get rid of the candy, chips, pop and 100 calorie snack packs.  Keep your home and office stocked with fruits and vegetables.  Never leave home without them.    

4.  Remember The Half Plate Rule:

One of the main USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) food guidelines is this: make half your plate fruits and vegetables.  It’s an easy rule.  It’s great advice.  Follow it.  Fill the other half with whole grains and lean protein.  Fruits and vegetables deserve that much real estate on the plate, because they’re that good for you! 

5.  Eat Them All Day:

Most people eat 3 meals and at least 2 snacks daily.  If you include a minimum of two servings of fruits or vegetables with meals and one with snacks, your quota has been met.  Have berries on your cereal and half a glass of fruit juice at breakfast.  Snack on a piece of fruit mid-morning.  Enjoy a large salad at lunch.  Have veggies and dip for an afternoon snack.  Load up on veggies with dinner and have fruit for dessert.  Mission accomplished.

6. Let Them Take Front & Center Stage:

Research clearly shows that when healthy food is in sight and in reach, you’re way more likely to eat it.  Keep a bowl of fruit on your desk at work and in a prominent place in your home like on the kitchen counter or dining room table.  Have cut up veggies ready and waiting when you open the fridge. 

7.  Enjoy Fresh, Frozen, Canned and Ready-to-Eat:

Take advantage of packaged, ready-to-eat produce at your grocery store – pre-washed greens, salad bars, cut-up fruit.  When produce is out of season or for convenience, consider frozen.  It’s quick to prepare and nutritious.  Unlike fresh produce that starts to lose nutrition as soon as it’s picked, with frozen the nutrients are locked in.  Some canned produce is lower in fibre and vitamin C than fresh or frozen, but it still offers great nutrition.  When buying frozen or canned, however, watch out for added fat, sugar and sodium.

8.  Vegetables Should Taste Good:

Who likes plain, soggy, overcooked vegetables?  Not me or my kids!  Mediterranean countries are known for their expertise in cooking and seasoning vegetables so they taste amazing!  Enhance your veggies with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, ginger, fresh herbs, spices, flavoured vinegars, lemon juice or a sprinkle of cheese.  Enjoy veggies raw with a tasty dip or low fat salad dressing.  Roast or grill veggies to bring out their natural flavour and sweetness (grilled fruit is awesome too!).  Buy great tasting produce from your local farmer’s market. 

9.  Add Them Everywhere:

Top your cereal with berries.  Add fruit to muffin recipes.  Stuff sandwiches with peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes and cucumbers.  Load your pizza with tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms and pineapple.  Add extra vegetables to soups, rice and pasta dishes.  You’d be amazed at some of the places you can squeeze more fruits and vegetables into your day!

10. Choose Wisely When Dining Out:

When people dine out or order take out they eat significantly less fruits and vegetables.  Don’t make that mistake.  Order veggie-focused meals like main course salads (easy on the dressing) and stir-fries.  If your entrée doesn’t come with veggies, order them on the side (french fries don’t count!).  Supplement take-out dinners, like rotisserie chicken, with vegetables and fruit from home.

 Lessons Learned:

  • Eat 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Prioritize and plan them into your day.  Get rid of foods that compete with them.  Include them with meals & snacks and fill half your plate with them.  Fresh, frozen and canned all count.  Learn to cook and serve them so they taste great!  Order them when dining out too.

Share

Author:

I’m a registered dietitian with a passion for peanut butter sandwiches and an undying love for chocolate. I’ve been researching, writing, and speaking about eating for optimal health for over 25 years. I have two wonderful daughters, love hiking year-round, and playing hockey in the winter. Perhaps, most importantly, I never let a good dance song go to waste!

Post a Comment:

Subscribe to Liz’s blog for a healthier, happier, & more delicious life!

(P.S. Your email will never be shared!)