Despite all of the health advice promoting healthier eating, research shows that Americans are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
An easy way to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables is to have them readily available. Make the table center piece a bowl of oranges, clementines, or apples. Switch up the fruit to include bananas one week and peaches the next. Commit to eating one or more a day for a snack or make it a meal with a bowl of cereal or yogurt. The goal is to eat two to four pieces of fruit a day.
Place fruits and vegetables front and center in the refrigerator. Worried that they will go bad before you eat them? Buy the canned or frozen version. Many bags of broccoli can be microwaved in under 5 minutes and ready to eat.
Take one afternoon to prep meals for the week and make sure that the majority of the dish is a vegetable. If there are a variety of colors you get bonus points! A Greek salad is a great way to get in our daily vegetable needs. Experiment with new recipes. Add quinoa or lentils for plant protein.
Eating fruits and vegetables is the simplest way to reduce risk for a range of chronic illnesses. Instead of going for a bag of chips, pretzels, or other processed food, bite into an apple. Add protein to the apple with a slice of cheese or peanut butter. Slice a banana and make banana almond butter mini sandwiches. Or place in the blender with milk for a tasty smoothie.
Every week make one small change and work to keep that new habit a part of your life. Maybe it’s a banana every morning with your coffee or an apple as a snack at work. Make a container of celery with peanut butter for a late afternoon pick me up. Carry a box of raisins which are high in iron or prunes which are high in vitamin K and a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper and potassium with you so that when the urge hits to grab a candy bar you have a healthier version handy.
Little steps can create big changes.
Corey Flynn NDTR, CDM, CFPP
Here is what they mean: Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered; Certified Dietary Manager; and Certified Food Protection Professional. She is also an ACE certified personal trainer.
Corey has degrees in nutrition, photography, and journalism. She enjoys adventure triathlons and hiking. She is currently working on a master’s degree in public policy and management with a concentration in environment and sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs while working full time and caring for her husband, three children, three cats, a beagle, two geckos, and one goldfish