There is no denying that the more fruits and veggies you include in your diet, the healthier you will be. Try any Google search or scholarly article search, and I can guarantee you that these sources will tell you that the #1 way to live a healthier life is to EAT MORE PLANTS!
However, plants tend to not show up in the American diet so much – maybe once or twice a day; maybe you struggle with this, too. So, let’s talk strategy to get your 5-A-Day! [more on that here]. Here are my top 3 ways to add more produce into your life:
Smoothies have been my go-to for the past few weeks, for a few reasons: it’s a great way to use up overripe fruit, they’re easy and convenient, and they taste awesome. PLUS, it’s an easy way to get a good 3 servings of fruits & veggies in for the day!
When I make smoothies, I make ‘em large – generally, they fill up my 32 ounce mason jar. Yes, it is a meal for me. Here are some of my typical smoothie concoctions:
- Green smoothie: 1-2 cups any leafy green you like, 2 frozen bananas, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, 1 cup unfiltered apple juice, & water, chia seeds
- Yellow smoothie: 2 frozen bananas, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, frozen peaches, frozen apricots, water or juice, chia seeds
- Pink smoothie: 2 frozen bananas, assorted frozen berries, and whatever frozen fruit is in my freezer at the time, water or juice, chia seeds
Interested in getting more veggies in? I found these guys (below) at Walmart! It says it’s 4 servings per bag, but the way I make smoothies, it was more like 2; I also added some extra frozen fruits from my freezer in addition to half of one of these bags.
TIP: Try adding chia seeds and/or hemp seeds to your smoothies if you don’t add any dairy or peanut butter. They’re a great source of protein, fat, and fiber, and will help satiate you 🙂
Admittedly, I’m not much of a salad fan. However, if the salad has a TON of stuff in it (more Buddha-bowl style), I’m much more likely to eat it. Not sure what a Buddha bowl is? Here’s a great intro from Kerry at My Fruity Kitchen [here]:
I haven’t experimented much with the bowl, but plan to do so this week! It just seems like a much tastier, heartier option than a boring salad that leaves you hungry an hour later!
Mix them/hide them…
I haven’t always liked vegetables. In fact, unless it was corn or a potato, there was a time in my life when I would rarely eat them. One of the first ways I got myself to eat more of them was by mixing them in with something I did enjoy, such as peas and rice, or beets with mashed potatoes, or zucchini with pasta. Eventually, I would come to love peas/beets/zucchini on their own.
Other ways to disguise your veggies:
- Toss them in a soup
- Bake them in a one-pot meal (i.e. hide a few extra in your Shepherd’s Pie or lasagna)
- Bake them in dough to make “stuffers” or hide them under the cheese of your pizza.
One last tip…
SEASON THEM! SEASONING SEASONING SEASONING!
One of the easiest ways to make your veggies taste better is with SEASONING! Personally, I like Mrs. Dash’s Italian blend on pretty much everything, but there are so many options out there, there’s no excuse for not eating your 5-A-Day!