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4 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies Every Day


Strawberries and Blueberries on brown rice cakes

Yes, it seems everywhere you turn health professionals are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.


You get it. But you don't necessarily want to go vegan or only eat plant based foods.


I feel you, me neither!


Yes, they’re full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).


Yes, people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer, healthier lives. This healthy habit has been linked to the prevention of many chronic diseases.


Yes, eating more vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some fat.


Most likely, your question isn't “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”



Before we dive in, always start from where you are. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet in one day. If you’re not used to eating any fruits or vegetables, start with adding just one serving of either to your first meal of the day. It will become easier to build up from there.


Now, let’s dive into my helpful ideas on exactly HOW to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet!



1. CREATE YOUR OWN PRODUCE PREP ROUTINE

I love a fluid routine that has room for options - so depending on what produce you have & your schedule, choose a few days a week to spend 15 minutes (AM or PM) to chop things up and store in air tight containers. Here are a few examples:


  • Sunday PM - make a seasonal fruit salad: chop up a mix of your favorite fruits, add a squeeze of lemon or lime, and store to use for breakfasts, desserts and snacks.

  • Tuesday PM - chop up and store onions and peppers while you're making a dinner that calls for those ingredients - this way they are handy to use later in the week

  • Thursday AM - slice bananas, drizzle with melted dark chocolate or peanut butter, and pop in the freezer for a make ahead dessert

  • Friday PM - grab that bag of forgotten spinach from the back of the fridge, freeze it in a ziplock bag before it goes bad, and use it later in the weekend to add to your next omelette or tofu scramble.


2. ENHANCE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES

Some recipes are super-easy to transform into plant based ones with a bit of strategically placed produce.

What do you think of these ideas?


  • Skip the dairy and try using coconut water or oat milk with some vanilla extract in your next smoothie.

  • Dice or shred up an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini or pepper into your soup or veggie quiche.

  • Love sandwiches? Why not add an extra slice of tomato, lettuce or cucumber to it?

  • Love to bake? How about substituting ¼ cup of the sugar for ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce?

  • Used to having a small salad? Why not try a larger one?

  • Making pasta sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms or peppers.



3. MAKE THEM TASTE MORE DELICIOUS WITH A MEAL


  • Use veggies as your sandwich “bread” by making a lettuce wrap.

  • Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try making your own signature veggie spice by mixing Cameroon pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin, and a small amount of salt. Keep your mix in an airtight container.

  • Sauté some frozen corn and add a touch of avocado oil and your spice mix as a side dish.



4. OPTING FOR THEM AS SNACKS & DESSERT

  • Why not throw a banana, apple or a couple of clementines into your lunch bag?

  • Have 1/2 a cup of fresh berries with some almonds, make a cup of your favorite tea, and find a moment to relax and enjoy

  • If you love chips and dip - try some carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, salsa, guacamole, or even your favorite salad dressing

  • Love ice cream? Try a natural fruit Frozen Banana Bowl or a Chia Pudding Parfait instead.


YOUR CHALLENGE

Take two of these suggestions and try them this week. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you’re at today. Two more. And if you’re not an instant fan, well, try again. Research shows that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before actually beginning to like a new flavor. Try it; you might just find some new faves. You can do it! Let me know your favorite ways to eat fruits and veggies in the comments below.


Do you have a favorite plant based recipe you'd like me to feature on E-tọ́jú? Leave a comment below and I'll get to it! You can also download a free recipe book from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine here.


Health and Blessings,

Adéọlá


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