To maintain good health, dietary guidelines recommend that you eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day – with one portion considered to be about 80 grams.
Fruits and vegetables give you essential nutrients and vitamins, all with very few calories, helping you to lose weight as well as supporting your overall health.
Sometimes it seems hard to get in the recommended number of servings each day. When we’re busy, it’s often easier to reach for carb-based foods.
But there are plenty of ways you can fit enough fruit and vegetables into your diet plan, without feeling like you’re always crunching on carrot sticks.
How To Start Eating More Fruits And Vegetables
Here are a few tips to help make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need…
Snack on raw vegetables
When you feel like munching on something, grab some crunchy raw vegetables like carrot or celery sticks. For something different, you can even try broccoli or cauliflower florets.
Add fruit to your salad
Slice up some strawberries, apples or peaches, or even take some orange sections or pomegranate seeds and sprinkle them over your greens- it will give you a juicy twist that keeps your salad interesting.
Experiment with flavorings
Make your vegetables taste more interesting by playing around with different low-fat flavorings, like nutmeg, lemon juice, dill weed, salsa, basil, and mustard. You can also try combining vegetables with broths or fruit juice.
Buy bags of ready-made salad
This is a good idea for when you feel like you don’t have time to eat healthily. Just grab a bag and a few fresh ingredients and a low-fat dressing.
Make your pizza healthy
If you’re making mini pizzas at home, top them with heaps of vegetables like onions, mushrooms, capsicum, artichoke hearts, spinach, and zucchini.
Eat fruit for dessert
If you love having dessert, make it healthy by eating fruit after dinner. There are plenty of creative ways you can make fruit delicious. So experiment and get your sweet fix with fresh, healthy ingredients.
See Also: Why Antioxidants Are Good For You
Have big salads
You can use a large salad as your meal base instead of rice or pasta, and add small portions of lean meats, low-fat cheese or legumes over the top.
Roast or grill your vegetables
This gives you a tastier, heartier flavor than steaming or boiling vegetables, and it’s quite easy to do.
Lightly coat chunks of vegetables like zucchini, capsicum, eggplant and onion with vegetable spray and put them in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Make a smoothie
Drink vegetable juice
One glass of vegetable juice can add half a cup’s worth of vegetables into your diet, and drinking it before a meal can help to curb your appetite.
Add fruit to your breakfast
Mix a few berries into your cereal or yogurt, or chop up a banana. Getting into the habit of always dding some fruit into your breakfast gives you a great healthy start to the day.
Try going a week without eating meat, or decide to have two or three vegetarian meals a week. You’ll be forced to try new ways of using vegetables to make up the bulk of your meal.
Frozen fruits like berries, and frozen vegetables like peas and corn, make a delicious, healthy snack that you can have at any time of the day.
Cook up a big pot of soup using whatever vegetables you choose. Then you can easily reheat it for lunch or dinner all throughout the week- a quick and simple choice when you’re low on time to prepare food.
Double your servings
Of vegetables that is! When you’re serving up a meal, try to increase the portion of vegetables and reduce the portion of other foods like meat, pasta or rice. That way you will still feel full while saving on calories.
With these small changes to your diet, you can easily get in your five portions a day- or even more.
Spend a few days tracking how much fruit and vegetables you are eating and make an effort to up your intake.
Then you’ll be well on track to reaching your weight loss goals and feeling more energized and healthy.