Many people don’t eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as they should. Consuming a variety of produce every day can help you get all the nutrients you need for good health and may lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and other serious medical problems. There are a lot of simple ways to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Add fruits and vegetables to things you ordinarily eat in the morning. For example, if you eat cereal for breakfast, toss in some berries or banana slices. If you usually have plain eggs, cut up some vegetables and make an omelet. You can also make a breakfast smoothie with a variety of colorful foods to get your morning off to a healthy start. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients.
Put lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables on a sandwich or have a vegetable or fruit salad. If you like soup, buy or make some that contains a variety of vegetables. If you make soup from scratch, prepare a large amount and store the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer so you can have several healthy meals.
For dinner, you can have a vegetable or salad as a side dish or incorporate vegetables and fruit into the main course. Try pasta and rice dishes with a variety of vegetables. You may also find creative ways to use fresh fruit to add some sweetness to your evening meal.
Instead of cookies or chips, have some fresh or dried fruit or raw vegetables as snacks. Put a fruit bowl on the kitchen table or counter so you will see it when you’re hungry and reach for a nutritious snack. If you like sliced veggies, prepare some ahead of time so they will be available when you need something to hold you over until your next meal.
If you typically choose desserts filled with sugar, look for healthy alternatives, such as fruit salad. If you’re craving ice cream, find a brand that is low in sugar and serve it with a homemade fruit sauce.
Look for Creative Ideas
If you aren’t sure how to work more fruits and vegetables into meals, look for recipes in cookbooks or online. You will easily find many that combine familiar foods in unexpected ways. You may even be inspired to try some foods you have never had before and find that you love them.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually as nutritious as fresh ones. If you buy canned or dried fruits and vegetables, soups and other prepackaged foods, check the labels to avoid products with a lot of sodium and preservatives.
Fruit and vegetable juices can be good sources of nutrients, but be sure to read the labels so you don’t buy products with large amounts of sugar. Don’t try to get all your fruits and vegetables from juice. Fresh produce has fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system.