There’s no mystery about it: Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you! They’re packed with nutrients, high in fiber and much lower in calories than most processed foods. National guidelines recommend everyone consume nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That’s a lot of fruit and vegetables!
Here are five tips for easily incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your life:
- Eat what’s in season: Fruits and vegetables that are in season tend to be most plentiful and therefore also the best priced. On top of that, they’re the tastiest because they’re at their peak.
- Become a savvy shopper: If your town or one nearby has a farmers market, visit it regularly. Fruits and vegetables that are in season will be featured along with specialty crops. The fruits and vegetables offered at farmers markets are often the best around. Most venders will let you sample the produce before purchasing. If you visit regularly, you can find venders you know and trust. Many will even offer preparation suggestions. Also learn which of the grocery stores in your area offer the best produce at the best prices, and keep your eye out for specials and coupons. Compare the prices of fresh versus frozen produce. While many people think frozen produce is not as good for you or is as fresh, often the produce in frozen varieties was picked and packaged at its peak, making it very nutritious. Fruits and vegetables that aren’t in season or spoil fast can also be purchased frozen instead. Just look for frozen varieties without added salt or sugar.
- Top it: Fruit, including all types of berries and bananas, can easily be added on top of cereal and low fat desserts to boost taste, fiber and nutrition. Berries also taste great added to salads. Of course, in season fruits are so delicious they make a great dessert all by themselves! Cut up and mix fruits you like into a fruit salad.
- Blend it: Experiment with placing your favorite fruits into the blender along with some non-fat yogurt for tasty smoothies that can serve as a meal or snack. Many people also enjoy juicing vegetables to drink in some of those healthy servings!
- Sneak in those veggies: In addition to serving sides of vegetables or starting with a salad, sneak vegetables into as many meals as you can. For example, add sautéed vegetables to your marinara sauce, or puree vegetables and add them into all sorts of things, from pastas to casseroles and more; you likely either won’t notice a taste difference or will find the taste improved, plus you’ll be adding nutrition and fiber without adding fat or high calories. Vegetables also make great additions or main ingredients in soups – add legumes and you have even more fiber plus protein.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods that taste great and can enhance every meal or snack. In the process, they’ll boost your nutrition so you’ll have even more energy to do all the things you love most.