Fruits have a natural sweetness that I just love - however, sometimes I can eat too much before I even realize it! On the other hand, I consciously focus on eating vegetables throughout the day. Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet and lifestyle because they contain so many nutrients.
Here are some tips and tricks I've picked up along the way to help incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables:
• Fruits can be a great thing to include for natural sweetness. I like to use them as desserts or as a finisher to a meal. To avoid eating too many, I portion out what I will eat and put the rest away.
• Vegetables are the perfect thing to add bulk to a meal. I love to eat the main course (like meat sauce for pasta, sloppy joes made with turkey, or roasted chicken breast as examples) over a bed of vegetables. Not just lettuce for a salad, but steamed broccoli, stir fry veggies, sauteed squash, or zucchini noodles. It's an easy way to fill up and gives the vegetables more flavor from the rest of the meal.
• I'm a believer in blending up veggies in meals for added nutrition and my kids don't always know it! In the sloppy joes I mentioned I blend up frozen onions and peppers for the sauce. Okra or spinach are great in smoothies or shakes (it's ok to be skeptical but give it a try). And I rarely eat eggs without chopped veggies. I've even learned to like mushrooms that way!
• I don't always make time to chop and meal prep, but when I do, I'm always rewarded with eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. Mason jars in the refrigerator are perfect for storing spinach leaves, sliced oranges, and baby carrots. My kids can easily get to them for snacks. I bet you can find all kinds of other things to store for snacks in mason jars!
• If you're not a fan of a particular fruit or vegetable, try a different cooking method. I dislike raw tomatoes, but I love diced tomatoes in soups and sauces. Frozen mango chunks are not my thing, but I really enjoy them cooked in my oatmeal and that's a great change up for my body from the mornings when I eat cooked eggs for breakfast.
• My kids love to be in the kitchen when I am. Sharing an apple as part of a snack, having taco salad night with lettuce, and themed celebrations (Ghost Poop mashed cauliflower for Halloween anyone?) make fruits and vegetables fun for the whole family.
• Find a new recipe to try! I found this cute squash at the farmers' market last weekend that I've never made before and want to try.
• Don't forget about ordering vegetables when dining out.
• Colorful salad - I make it a game to see how many colors I can put on my salads! Some of my favorite toppings for different salads are tomatoes, orange or yellow peppers, cucumbers, celery, red or black beans, blueberries or cherries, and strawberries.
It's fun for me even if I am too grown up now to believe broccoli looks like little trees. Have fun eating a variety of fruits and vegetables! P.S. I'd love to hear if you used any of these tricks and how they worked for you.