Everyone knows that they should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but with today's lifestyle, we find it to be akin to a mission impossible.
According to health.gov, the recommending daily servings are 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day. To help you figure out what a serving is, they break it down as such:
1 serving is 1/2 cup of raw (not leafy) vegetables, 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked raw leafy vegetables. When you look at it in those terms, it really isn't that hard to eat more fruits and vegetables. The trick is to make it a part of your routine.
Before I give you my super simple tips on eating more plants, let's discuss why eating fruits and vegetables are so important.
Sadly, most Americans live off of the Standard American Diet, this is usually high in sugar, simple carbs, fat, calories and animal proteins. It's also low in fiber and many vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Research has shown that a lot of the diseases we have today are attributed to lifestyle, most of that being our diet.
The Nutrition Source over at Harvard's School of public health reports that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. Since plants have a varied nutrient profile, it's important that you eat different types of fruits and vegetables every day to make sure you're getting as many benefits as possible.
Leafy greens are the most nutritious, that's your kale, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens and collard's to name a few. Leafy greens are loaded with vitamins A, C and K, potassium and fiber. Cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, bok choi, Brussels sprouts, have been studied for their anti-cancer properties, according to Cancer.gov.
Now that you know why you should be eating more fruits and veggies, are you ready to start eating them? Read on my pet...
4 tips to eat more vegetables!
This one is easy and obvious, but should still be on the list because it works, drink smoothies! It can sometimes seem daunting to get your fruits and vegetable by eating them as part of your meal. If you make a smoothie with a blend of greens, root vegetables and fruit, you'll be getting a couple of servings in one sitting. Make ahead, put it in mason jars and keep in your fridge. As you're heading out the door, just grab & go!
Eat fruits! If you're someone who just has an aversion to vegetables, then eat only fruits. With fruits, you're getting Vitamin C, fiber and other nutrients that you wouldn't get otherwise. Most fruits come in their own packaging so just like a smoothie, you can just grab and go.
Hide the veggies in the pasta sauce! I love spaghetti, I don't know anyone who doesn't. As a child, I always thought it was a treat when my mom made spaghetti for dinner (now that I'm older, I understand it was because she was too tired to cook a full meal), but nevertheless, pasta in a marinara sauce is a quick, easy and filling meal. And when you chop up those vegetables and add it to your pasta sauce, even the pickiest of little eaters won't be able to avoid getting their veggie intake.
Rice & Beans! I'm done here. Good night...
Just kidding, but as a Caribbean, eating rice and beans has always been a staple in my diet. As a plant-based vegan, they play an even bigger part in my diet. Beans are highly nutritious; they have protein, iron, fiber (fiber is very important), folate, potassium, magnesium and none of the saturated fat or cholesterol that comes with eating animal products. They're very nutrient dense, and when you eat them with rice (or quinoa or millet) you'll feel satiated most of the day.
Don't believe me? Check out Nutrition Fact's video on the Hispanic Paradox: Why do Latinos Live Longer?
These are my super dooper easy ways of getting more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine. Do you have tips that have worked for you or your family? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Scarlett is a business owner and lover of pretty things. She started this blog to share some of her witticisms and favorite things.