My fruit bowl is kind of famous.
In every class I teach, I share how I fill a huge bowl with fruits and veggies at the beginning of the week, and if the bowl is empty by the weekend, I know we have eaten well.
This is just one of the simple things I do to make getting more fruits and veggies in our diets easier.
Believe it or not, most people get nowhere near the recommended 5 – 10 servings of produce per day required to achieve optimal health. In fact, most people get in only one paltry serving.
If this is you, and you are struggling with weight loss, or feel you would like a leaner physique, then look no further than your nearest fruit bowl. The more we choose healthier options, the less room we have for crap.
So for those who are anxious to up the veggie ante, here are some of my best tips to get you to the required 10 (or at the very least, to the bare minimum of 5 servings per day).
• Buy a large variety so you have plenty of choices in the house
• Stock up on frozen veggies so you always have a quick and easy option as a side dish at dinner
• Use the fruits and veggies that will spoil quickly first. Save the heartier choices for later in the week, so you don’t have to shop more than once. (And don’t wash your produce until you are ready to eat it.)
• Keep fruits & veggies in full view. We eat what we see. This works great with kids; hence my famous fruit bowl (above).
• Keep a bowl or baggie of cut-up veggies in the fridge. This is a great go-to snack paired with hummus or a Greek yogurt dip.
• Make a tossed salad with cut-up veggies like carrots, red or green pepper, broccoli, etc. Leave it in your salad spinner so it will stay fresher longer, and it is good to go.
• Keep a bowl of fruit on your desk at work, or in the playroom.
• Pack a piece of fruit or cut-up veggies in your bag at all times, so you are not tempted to grab unhealthy snack items at a checkout counter.
• Add fruits & veggies to soups, salads and smoothies.
• Increase your veggie portions. In fact, skip the starch and double the vegetables whenever you can. Collect some basic stir-fry recipes.
• Add grated carrots or zucchini to soups, sauces, meatloaf, casseroles or muffins.
• Peruse the salad bar. Take advantage of all the freshly chopped and cut varieties of produce, as well as pre-made fruit and bean salads. Pack up a small container for later.
• Use vegetable-based sauces such as marinara and roasted red pepper.
• Don’t forget vegetable juices, either freshly made or a low-sodium V-8. Juicing is a great way to get in lots of nutrients in a small serving.
• Freeze and blend frozen fruit for a low-cal substitute for ice cream or popsicles. (Frozen bananas are the B’s!)
• Here’s a tip for the kiddies: Serve your veggies in that ½ hour before dinner when everyone is looking to eat. At this point, they are more likely to munch on whatever you put in front of them. I have personally witnessed a whole bowl of broccoli disappear in minutes!
• Here’s another kid-friendly tip: create your own salad bar. Put out fresh lettuce, various chopped vegetables (I keep some in small Tupperware containers ready to go) and bottled dressings. Have everyone make their own salad masterpiece, since children are much more likely to eat what they have created. Again, the best time for “salad bar” is while dinner is being made.
I challenge you to use some of these tried-and-true tips to increase you (and your family’s) vegetable consumption for 2014.
In the comments below tell me what helpful tips you use in your house. I would love to hear from you!