There are many areas of controversy in the field of nutrition. But one thing that is without doubt is the importance of fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and lots of wonderful phytochemicals. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Most vegetables are also naturally low in calories and fat, making them an excellent choice in a healthy low-calorie diet.
Most of us do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day (the recommendation ranges from 5 to 9 servings per day). So how can we increase our intake of fresh produce? Here are 10 easy ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Add half a cup of berries or a sliced banana to your breakfast.
- Eat a piece of fresh fruit with every lunch.
- Add a small side salad to every dinner.
- Keep some washed and prepared sugar snap peas, bell peppers, cucumbers, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes in a container in the fridge to snack on.
- Don’t forget the freezer aisle – frozen peas, corn, spinach, or broccoli can be thrown into any dish or cooked separately to create a healthy side dish.
- Add vegetables to dishes you already love. Stir broccoli into mac and cheese, layer spinach or zucchini into lasagna, or add sliced or roasted vegetables to a quesadilla.
- Freeze blueberries or grapes, or buy frozen raspberries or mango, and munch on them when the urge to snack strikes.
- Dip carrots or celery in hummus, ranch, or your favorite dressing.
- Make a smoothie with frozen fruit, half a fresh avocado, a handful of spinach, and almond, coconut, soy, or regular milk.
- Roast a big batch of vegetables then use them in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. Roasting brings out the sweetness in them, making them even more delicious. Try bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, onions, or any of your favorite vegetables.