We all know the importance of fruits and vegetables to our wellbeing, yet many of us still find it difficult to eat the daily-required portions for optimum health. If you want to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, but don’t know how to, we suggest some ways to eat your fruits & vegetables daily. Find below several tips on how to feed these nutritious brunches into your daily food funnel.
How To Start
100% fruit or vegetable juice.
Start the day with 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Top your corn or wheat cereal with sliced banana, apple, pineapple, blackberries, segment orange or tangelo. You can have English or African salad with lunch, cucumber, and carrot sticks for an afternoon snack, cabbage, spinach. Or any green leaf with dinner and you already have about five cups of fruits and vegetables. If you need more than five cups per day, try adding a piece of fruit for a snack or an extra vegetable (okra, carrots, or green beans) at dinner.
Also remember to keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavours and colours, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers. Put fruits and vegetables where you can easily reach them. That way you tend to eat them more. For instance, store fresh at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big bowl of fruit on the table.
Choose healthy when dining out
Eating at restaurants should not stop you from getting your healthy portions of fruits and vegetables. This is what you need to do. Opt for the following healthy alternatives:
- Pick a veggie pizza instead of meat.
- Select pasta with vegetables, but be careful of the high-fat cream sauces.
- Have you tried a fresh vegetable “wrap”?
- Instead of chicken cream or meat pepper soup, go for fresh fish pepper soup, or give minestrone (pasta & vegetable) soup a try, or Peking soup, if going Chinese.
- Ask for a small garden salad (instead of fries).
- Select plenty of fresh vegetables from the salad buffet.
Choose healthy when in office
There are also ways to eat your fruits & vegetable daily at the office. Cleaned, ready-to-eat packaged fresh vegetables are a terrific time saver. Many take out restaurants and local supermarkets do them now. Several food vendors also offer boxed sliced melons, peeled oranges, apples, banana, fresh pineapple, and bowls of salad to satisfy your hunger.
When you feel for a fruit snack, grab an apple, banana or orange, or a bowl filled with dried raisins, grapes, sliced mango, chopped melon, and papaya. If your desire is for vegetables, place at your reach carrot sticks, sliced onions, cucumber, cabbage, or some red, yellow, and green pepper. Try dipping vegetables in low-fat or non-fat salad dressing, or natural yogurt.
Just in case you are in a hurry for a healthy treat, pick fruits and vegetables that require little peeling or chopping, such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, grapes, broccoli spears, an apple, or a box of 100 % fruit or vegetable juice (apple, orange, pineapple, tomato, pumpkin or carrot).
Delicious Home Cooking
Use a microwave to cook vegetables or a potato to retain their nutrients. You can also grill fruits or vegetables. When grilling, wrap vegetables in aluminum foil. Or use skewers of pineapple, yellow squash, eggplant, zucchini (courgettes). Or cherry tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Place the skewed vegetables over medium-hot coals for a delicious BBQ treat.
Make salsa with tomatoes, mangoes, avocados, red onions, and lime juice or a quick smoothie by puréeing mango, and/or papaya, add a touch of your favourite fruit juice, crushed ice, and a light sprinkling of ginger.
For a quick fruit salad that requires less than a minute preparation, peel and segment sweet juicy oranges into an empty bowl. Add a sliced banana, a sliced apple, some raisins, and chopped glazed cherries.
Help The Kids Eat Well
Although it is an age of doughnuts, cakes, pies, biscuits, sweets and ice cream, times are changing. Facts are emerging about the nutrition benefits of fruits and vegetables. ‘Sugar is bad for you and your teeth’ is a well-known phrase in many schools now. You can help your children to eat well by making them eat fruits and vegetables more. Jazz what you offer them a little, and use a little ‘mum’s the word’.
Lastly, ways to eat your fruits & vegetables is to go with your children to shop. Take them to the grocery store or farmers market to let them see the variety of fruits and vegetables on offer. Let them pick out new fruit and vegetable to try. By making it fun and involving your kids, they are more likely to eat healthy foods.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons.