Pass the vegetables, Please!
By Lisa Metzgar, PhD, Nutrition Tidbits
One of the toughest challenges most of my clients have is getting their daily servings of fruits and vegetables. You should be eating at least 8-10 servings a day. A serving is about the size of a baseball. It seems like a lot of food to eat and it can be a challenge to be prepared during the day to get your share.
Most people think of a plate full of steamed broccoli or canned peas when they think of vegetables. When they think of a salad, they think of iceberg lettuce with some ranch dressing. The key to getting your daily dose of fruits and vegetables is variety and being prepared. There are so many options and so many ways of cooking, preparing, or just snacking raw.
Here are a few tips on how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your day:
- Make a salad for one meal. Use the dark green leafy lettuces and try putting a variety of things in your salad. Some of my favorites are berries, pear slices, cranberries, avocado, beans, tomato, jicama, nuts, brown rice or quinoa, beets, and spinach. Top that off with a little olive oil and lemon with some herbs and you have a hearty salad filled with quite a few servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Get a juicer. Juicing is a great way to pack a few servings. You can combine fruits and vegetables. Try different recipes.
- Bring snack bags with sliced vegetables with you. If you prepare these ahead of time you are more likely to bring them. It doesn’t just have to be carrots and celery. Slice up all your favorites and bring a variety.
- Add vegetables to your favorite dishes. Experiment with some of your favorite recipes.
- Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashing cauliflower. It is a great alternative to the standard potato.
- Dry your fruits for a snack. Sometimes it is a challenge to keep all of your fruits and vegetables fresh. Using a dehydrator is a great way to have great snacks on hand.
- Try making vegetable chips. Kale works great for this. Just cut into small pieces, season, and roast them in the oven until crispy. My daughter also likes seaweed snacks as an alternative to chips. You can find them in health food stores.
- Make a fruit salad for dessert. We use many kinds of fruit (you can use frozen as well) mixed with a little bit of yogurt.
- Try one new vegetable a week.
- There are many ways to cook vegetables. Research different ways and try them so you don’t get into a rut. I like roasting (this is really good if you add a little bit of apple in with your vegetables), sautéing, steaming, mashing, and raw.
- Try an organic basket delivery service. This is a great way to get great tasting vegetables as well as great quality. You will receive the seasons pick and be able to try vegetables you may not have even considered.
The holidays are upon us. Try some tasty new recipes this season!