Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Focus on Nutrient Rich Fruits and Veggie! Drop the DIET eat for LIFE!

Ok, so we all know we need to eat more fruits and veggies, but HOW can we possiblly fit 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables into our daily meal plan. Well, I have listed some quick and easy tips and tricks to squeeze those antioxidant packed foods into your life for good!

Fill up on fruits and vegetables first! One of the main reasons that people eat fewer fruits and vegetables during the winter months, and particularly during the holidays, is because they fill up on other types of food first. Try to prioritize fruits and vegetables, and eat other types of food once you have reached your quota for fruits and vegetables.

Keep it simple-Do not over think this whole fruits and vegetables idea—just work it into your daily plan. Try these ideas:
Look at every time that you eat as a challenge and an opportunity for creativity. Work some produce into the mix, even if it is not a full serving.

Here are 20 Tips to Sneak Vegetables into Your EVERY MEAL!
*Twenty Ways to Increase Your Veggies*

1. Eating vegetables, whether canned or frozen is better than not eating any vegetables at all.
2. Grow a vegetable garden. There is nothing like the flavor of a homegrown vegetable. If space is limited, try planting in a pot of soil.
3. Change the texture of vegetables from cooked and soft to raw and crunchy. For example, instead of serving cooked carrots with a meal, try crisp raw carrots instead.
4. Adorn a favorite food with vegetables. Try topping your pizza with chopped bell peppers.
5. Do not be afraid to add a little butter or margarine if that makes the difference between eating vegetables or not. Also, try different recipes and cooking methods for preparing vegetables. MIX IT UP!
6. Enhance veggies with fresh herbs: such as garlic, ginger, and basil. YUM
7. Steam in a flavorful broth: such as low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
8. Throw some vegetables on the grill, either whole or large skewer pieces.
9. Always double your normal portion for vegetables and decrease your starches such as bread, pasta, and sugar. 1/2 of your plate should be fruits and veggies, 1/4 lean protein, and the remaing 1/4 starches.
10. Try low sodium v-8 juice for a beverage-it counts as a vegetable serving.
11. Try one new vegetable or vegetable based recipe each week.
12. Take advantage of packaged fresh salad greens like romaine, spinach, and spring mix blend for an instant easy salad.
13. Serve a festive vegetable-snacking platter at home or for parties. Include bell pepper rings and broccoli in addition to the usual veggies. You can make a quick dip like hummus or yogurt based ranch dip.
14. Add chopped tomatoes and other vegetables to burritos, tacos, and wraps.
15. When eating out, plan your meal around vegetables.
16. If eating fast food, try adding a side salad with your meal and always double your veggies.
17. Chop a variety of different vegetables and toss them in your salad.
18. Add leftover vegetables or frozen veggies to your favorite soup.
19. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables so that even if you have been on vacation or haven't gone grocery shopping-you have no excuse not to eat them.
20. Trade out one meat dish for a vegetable based dish at least once per week. (for example, meatless monday)
See, you can do it, just have to put a little effort and pre-planning and now you can create a nutrient rich, high fiber powerhouse of fruits and vegetables. If you follow these tips- you won't have much room for other junk!