How many times during childhood do we hear the words “Eat your vegetables!” How we wished we were all adults and never had to eat those horrible things again. Unfortunately, vegetables and fruits are a vital part of our daily diet. If you choose not to eat them, you will undoubtedly feel bad and gain weight. Possibly the main reason for our dislike of vegetables is because we tend to overcook them, leaving them tasteless and soggy. This is the worst way to cook vegetables, as you are taking away all their goodness. Ideally, a person should aim to eat between 5 and 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Do you remember that they played it to you at school? Turns out they were actually right!
If you think 5-10 servings is a lot to consume in a day, let’s see what a serving size really is. A serving is a medium-sized piece of fruit or vegetable. That’s one carrot or 1 apple or 1 banana that equals one serving. 5 or 10 of those don’t sound so bad right now, right?
An easy way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to cut them up and store them in a small freezer bag or sandwich bag. Prepare them the night before for use the next day. Buy a peeler and peel and cut many different types of fruits or vegetables and store them in the plastic bags in the refrigerator. Maybe try celery, carrots, or an apple.
These cut fruit and veggie chunks are great to take to work for snacking. At your coffee break, grab some of these healthy alternatives in place of fries from the vending machine. Keep a salt shaker handy at work. A little sprinkling on the vegetables will help bring out the natural flavor and make them more palatable. These are practical snacks that you can take anywhere. If you are going on a long trip, take some with you. Store some at work, at home in the refrigerator for when you’re hungry or want a late-night snack. A great way to include lots of vegetables in your diet is soup. However, be careful with the canned variety, as they often contain a lot of salt. Why don’t you try making your own soup? Much healthier as it will also reduce unnecessary fat.
Another way to get a helping of vegetables is by eating a small salad. If you’re eating out, try ordering a salad next time. Be careful with the salad dressing and only use vinegar and oil, using just enough oil to balance the sour taste of the vinegar.
It is important to get as many fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. Eat them raw whenever you can, as it is the most beneficial for your body. Also try using fresh produce, as sometimes the canning or freezing process can alter the taste and goodness.
If you insist on cooking your vegetables, blanch them just a little. Just long enough to get rid of the tough, raw feeling and definitely don’t overcook until they are mushy and tasteless. This will remove all the nutrients and vitamins from the vegetables. Remember that you are eating them to benefit your health, so don’t waste your time and money making them useless.
Try these ideas to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
o Breakfast. Chop up some fruit and add it to your cereal. Makes your cereal taste sweet without adding sugar. Drink a glass of fruit juice with your breakfast. Juices are another good way to consume more fruit. Try to use the juice with the ‘bits’ still in it, as they are a great source of fiber.
o Lunch. Eat lots of salads, but remember to use dressings in moderation. Having vegetable sticks with your meal will fill you up if you’re hungry. Have a piece of fruit for dessert, much better than ice cream or something that makes you fatter!
o Dinner. Try plant-based foods like vegetarian pizza or other non-meat foods. How about a fish with a lot of corn and vegetables? Mix up your own personal favorites.
The key to eating lots of fruits and vegetables is to make them fun. If you make them soft and boring, they won’t look appetizing. Buy yourself a cookbook or visit some recipe websites and learn new ideas for fruits and vegetables. make them exciting and you will want to eat them and soon you will notice a huge difference in your health and well-being.