Most people understand that eating more fruits and veggies are important for good health. Nutritionists recommend at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
– with many suggesting that the more, the better. But with how easy fast food, junk food and prepackaged goods are, it is easy to let it slip and just say that tomorrow will be the day we get the right amount of servings. Stop letting this happen! Instead, get creative in order to add in those extra servings.
First and foremost you have to make sure that your kitchen is stocked with fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables at all times. If they are not readily available at home to use, then there is no way that you can incorporate them into your diet. Use the following 10 tips to sneak more fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet:
1. Let the People Choose
Let those that will be eating the meals choose what vegetable will be served. Each person gets to pick a vegetable one day a week, but they have to have tried the vegetables the week before or they loose a turn and the chef gets to pick. This gives people a chance to choose their favorite, but requires that they have given other veggies a try too.
2. Try Some Dried Fruit
Dehydrated fruit is still fruit. Make sure you get ones that have no added sugars – the natural fruit sugars are sweet enough. These can be excellent snacks throughout the day or added to other things like salads, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal and trail mix. Craisins, yogurt covered raisins, banana chips and dried apple slices can all add to your daily servings of fruit.
|3. Use Them as Toppings
Don’t let your sandwiches go bare – top them off with some delicious fruits and vegetables. You can add a lot of flavor and really kick your meal up a notch when you do this. Try banana, apple or strawberry slices on a peanut butter sandwich. Mix in some sprouts, lettuce, tomato, cucumber or banana peppers on top of a grilled chicken or sliced turkey sandwich. Or do it sandwich shop style and set out a bunch of different topping options to let everyone add what they want to their own meal.
4. Salad Bar Dinner
A little less of a sneak on this one, I’ll have to admit. But setting out a large variety of options for a salad bar can give everyone an opportunity to have what they like and will get them to actually eat it. If I see a ‘salad’ that is just lettuce a few croutons and some terrible dressing, then I will take a pass even just as a side salad. But if I can get some chicken or nuts or fruit and a nice flavorful vinaigrette, then that salad instantly becomes a meal. Note: there are more options than just Iceberg lettuce as far as greens go and a lot of them are much tastier.
5. Get Your Juices Flowing
Having an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge along with other options like milk and water can help give variety and get some added nutrients. Just make sure that you get products that are 100% juice (none of that 5% juice, 95% sugar…). You can even choose to buy a juicer and make your own juice! This can be great fun for kids as they can help in the process and see it being made right before their eyes. It can even entice them to enjoy a glass of mixed fruits and veggies that they would normally refuse.
6. Fruit for dessert
Desserts are supposed to be sweet. A nice sweet accompaniment following a tasty main dish. And fruits are sweet. So fruits can be dessert. Enjoy some sliced up fruit with a little whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Make some dessert crepes and fill it with berries, bananas and a little powdered sugar. Or just eat the fruit plain and enjoy nature’s own sweetness.
7. Snack On Fruits and Veggies
Apple slices, carrot sticks, grapes, celery sticks, raisins/craisins – try to make it things you can just pop into your mouth like you would with chips or other snacks. Mix it up by adding in some cheese cubes, peanut butter, yogurt or another favorite dip of your own (just don’t go overboard… it’s about the fruit/vegetable not what you put on it).
8. Try Something New
There’s a lot more than just apples, bananas and lettuce in your local produce section. Find something new or exotic to pique your family’s curiosity. If you see anything there that is a rarity to your home or has never been before, then give it a try. You have no excuses because just searching online will get you thousands of tasty recipes for whatever the new ingredient might be.
9. Vegetable Soups and Stews
Especially good for when the weather gets cold, vegetable soups and stews can be super hearty, healthy, and tasty. If you happen to have a powerful blender like the Vitamix, there are even options to blend a soup straight in the container or at least make a base from which you can cook the rest of your soup/stew. Broth plus veggies, spices and a little meat can make for a satisfying meal. You can get some great results leaving things to simmer for a while or even try interesting things using a crock pot.
|10. Bust Out the Blender and Make a Smoothie!
Saving the best for last, this one is by far my favorite suggestion and I bet you can guess why. Across this site I have a lot of inspiration for blending together some of nature’s best work in order to get a perfectly smooth mixture of pure ambrosia. And who would’ve guessed they’re packed with healthy fruits and vegetables. It just tastes so good! Have one for breakfast or a mid-morning snack or for lunch or dinner or even dessert. Have one any time. Because they are the best (pure fact, in no way subjective at all…). You can easily tailor this to whatever you have on hand or whatever you want to drink. Add in greens and other veggies (try carrots with mangoes) or just go straight fruit. Use water or milk or yogurt. Add in chia seeds or some nuts. Basically let your imagination go wild and create something uniquely you and packed full of flavor. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.
Use a few of the tips and tricks above each week and you will easily start slipping in the fruits and vegetables that your body is craving into every day of your life. Nature really does know how to make them right and so make your body happy with the full amount of fruit and veggie servings every day.