We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables is an important part of improving our diets. Only 1 in 10 American adults gets the recommended amount of these nutrient-packed foods, so chances are this is an area where we could all improve. In addition to providing important nutrients, vitamins, and phytonutrients, fruits and vegetables are also an excellent source of the fibre we need.
If you are struggling to get enough fruits and vegetables into your daily meals, try these tips to make it easier—and delicious!
Frozen fruits and vegetables still pack the same nutritious punch. In fact, frozen vegetables are often picked and flash frozen at the height of ripeness, meaning that they are at peak condition when they are harvested.
Buying frozen is beneficial in many ways. First, frozen foods last a long time, so you don’t have to worry about using up produce before it goes bad, reducing food waste. Second, frozen fruits and vegetables are considerably less expensive than their fresh counterparts. Third, frozen fruits are always in season, so you know what’s going to be on hand without having to constantly adjust your meal plans.
Finally, frozen produce is already prepped for one of the easiest ways to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet: smoothies!
When you’re hungry, the last thing you want to do is deal with prepping food. That’s why quick snacks (that are often less nutritious and more expensive) are so tempting. Instead, spend a little time putting together a gift for your future self by prepping your fruits and vegetables beforehand. Making a shopping list like this one is also helpful.
If you open your fridge and see a bundle of raw carrots, all your brain will see is work. However, if you open that fridge to see peeled and sliced carrot sticks, you’ll see a delicious snack (bonus points if you also have some hummus on hand for dipping).
Peel and cut veggies into snack-size sticks. Cut big fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe into chunks and put them in a see-through container for easy access and a tempting, bright visual when you’re scanning for snacks.
Make a Smoothie or Smoothie Bowl
If you love the taste of fruit but have a hard time getting in your leafy greens, smoothies are the best way to go. These delicious treats can mask the taste of many vegetables without sugary additives and artificial flavours.
If you have a good blender that can fully pulverise the greens, you won’t even know that you’re sipping on kale or spinach with your berries and bananas. You can even add seeds like chia for a thicker, more filling and protein-packed treat.
Pair with Something You Like
If you aren’t snacking on fruits and veggies, what are you snacking on? Do you have a tendency to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Then try putting some peanut butter on apple slices or celery sticks instead.
Find an ingredient you do like (hummus, peanut butter, almond butter, and dips are all good choices) and pair it with a fruit or veggie to make getting your nutrition more enjoyable.
Use Them in Creative Ways
Fruits and vegetables don’t need to be the star of the dish to count as a nutritious boost to your overall diet. Find creative ways to add fruits and vegetables into everyday dishes. Try adding some apple slices to a sandwich. Put dried cranberries or watermelon in your salad. Add sweet potato to a taco or spinach to a tofu scramble.
There are lots of ways to make sure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs from delicious, high-quality fruits and vegetables without adding a lot of work for yourself or breaking the budget. It just takes a little planning ahead and some habit building. Before you know it, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to start eating all these great foods.
Contributed by Joey Bruno.
Photo Credit: Melissa Dorai and Pixabay