How to include fruits and vegetables in your diet?
- 6 Months ago
Vegetables and fruits contain an amazing combination of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (healthy plant-based compounds) that work together to provide health benefits.
Since vegetables and fruits are high in fiber but relatively low in calories, eating them helps fill you up and makes it easier to control your weight. They also help us control various health issues like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and are good for our eyes and digestive system.
Even though we know fruits and vegetables are important, it's trouble including them in our daily diet. So, here are a few tips for you to include fruits and vegetables easily in your diet.
The 7 Basics
1. Half Your Plate. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal and snack. Make vegetables the primary focus on your dinner plate and use starch and protein as side dishes.
2. Add More. Add extra fruits and vegetables to dishes, even if they already contain/call for them in the recipe. Add at least one extra vegetable to everyday meals, such as grated carrot and zucchini to pasta sauce, meatloaf or chili, or roasted vegetables to rice or pasta dishes.
3. Substitute. Substitute fruits & veggies in any meal – they’re lower in calories than many other foods.
4. Stay Stocked. Always stock fruits & veggies for quick meal prep. If opting for canned fruit and vegetables, choose without added sugar, syrup, cream sauces, or other ingredients that will add calories. Immediately after purchasing it, wash, prep and package them. Prepped veggies are more likely to be added to last-minute meals.
5. Steam & Flavor. Steamed vegetables make great sides. Add flavor with low-calorie or low-fat dressings and herbs and spices.
6. Grab & Go. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables in easy-to-grab places (a fruit bowl, sliced in the fridge, trail mix)
7. Craving something sweet? Opt for dried fruit mixes instead of baked goods or chocolate.
Tips for Every Meal
• Your breakfast
- Add it to your cereals, oatmeal or have it with your pancakes.
- Substitute spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half the cheese in your morning omelet. This will add volume but decrease the fat!
- Make flavored yogurt; add fresh fruits of your choice.
- Grab a bottle of vegetable juice for the road while going to the office.
- Get up 10 minutes early or plan an on-the-go nutritious breakfast (including fruits or vegetables) the night before.
- Reduce the amount of meat or cheese on a sandwich by ½ and replace with veggies.
• Your snacks
- Replace your unhealthy evening snacks with raw vegetables or fruits.
- Keep raisins, dates, carrot sticks, etc. in your office or car and have them when hungry.
- Replace your cheesy, mayo snack dips with chunky fruit salsas.
- Drink fresh fruit juices instead of tea, coffee or soda.
- Planning to take a quick bite out? Opt sandwiches with vegetables and without mayo or cheese over burgers, pizzas, etc.
- Add ½ a sliced banana or 1 sliced apple to a peanut butter sandwich and reduce the amount of peanut butter by half.
- 1 cup of whole strawberries AND 1 cup of carrots with 1/4 cup of low-calorie dip
- Pop a few strawberries, blueberries, carrots, broccoli, or any other ‘poppable’ fruits & veggies; they’re great options to snack on as is
- Make fruit kabobs or fruit popsicles
- Try hummus with carrots, celery, cauliflower, or other vegetables
- Guacamole! It’s heart-healthy and delicious
- Apples- 1 snack-size bag of corn chips (1 oz) has the same number of calories as a small apple.
- Fresh salsa (tomato-, black beans, corn- or avocado-based) is a great choice to serve with tortilla chips or baked pita triangles.
• Your Lunch/Dinner
- Combine fruits with your salads and main course to not only give good nutrition but also a nice sweet, tangy, crunchy texture to your meals.
- Keep a variety of colorful fruits in a bowl on the table. If you see them; you will end up having them.
- Add vegetables of your choice to your chicken or egg soups.
- Replace pasta in soups with veggies.
- When eating out, chose vegetarian options that have lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Stir-fry veggies instead of starchy ones.
- Use mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches.
There are many unique ways you can include more vegetables in your diet. Make "rice" and "buns" with vegetables, or incorporate them into common dishes. By making veggies a regular part of your eating habits, you'll significantly increase your intake of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Eating enough vegetables is also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may be beneficial for weight control.
At the end of the day, you can't go wrong eating more veggies.