Almost everyone needs to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables – you’ve probably grown tired of hearing that. But why and how?
Protect Your Health – fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. People who eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases including stroke, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.
Weight Management – Eating fruits and vegetables in place of higher calorie foods can be help with weight loss or maintenance.
Potassium – May help maintain a healthy blood pressure
Vitamin A – Keeps eyes and skin healthy and protects against infections
Vitamin C – Helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy
In order to get a good variety of nutrients, change things up and try different vegetables – eat a rainbow!
Tips to eating more fruits and vegetables:
- Pump up your breakfast – make a vegetable omelet, add a fruit to cereal or oatmeal, make a smoothie with a few vegetables in it
- Double the vegetables you normally eat at your meals.
- When making a marinara sauce, load it up with mushrooms, spinach, onions, peppers, garlic, squash and carrots. Use it for spaghetti, pizza, lasagna or dipping sauce
- Use a fresh new vegetable each week – whatever is in season
- Snack on fruits and/or vegetables with a low calorie dip
- Start a meal with soup or salad
- Have fruit as a dessert at all meals
- Pre wash and cut fruits and vegetables to have them ready to grab or easily accessible to add to any meal
- Buy frozen vegetables – last longer, cheap and easy to cook quickly
- Try roasting vegetables – makes vegetables taste amazing
- Take advantage of farmer’s markets
- Grow your own vegetables – do some digging, there may be a community garden or free classes in your area
Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas, specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.