The month of June is all about celebrating and honoring the fruits and vegetables of this earth. There’s no better way than to celebrate than by giving you all simple ideas on how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Both fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and are incredibly hydrating. Most of us eating the Standard American Diet lack in both fruits and vegetables- my goal is to have at least a couple fruits/day and least 6 servings of vegetables/day (2-3 being dark greens!), the more the merrier.
Ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
- Juices! Obviously juicing your fruits and vegetables is an incredibly easy way to increase the nutrient density and amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Juicing doesn’t have to be complicated and it can easily be incorporated daily for all of us.
- Smoothies. Smoothies contain all the fiber from fruits and vegetables, unlike juicing. Smoothies are a great way to “sneak” in greens for picky eaters as a way to increase the fiber and nutrient content in the smoothies. Try spinach for first time green smoothie drinkers, its subtle, slightly sweet, and blends very smooth! Stop by my blog where I share loads of smoothie recipes on Nutrition Stripped.
- Salads. Salads are not just for side dishes anymore; they’re for entrees and meals! By simply adding a good quality protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrate to your salad, you’ve made an entire meal with the base being vegetables and dark leafy greens. Add fruit as a topping such as dried raisins, goji berries, or fresh sliced pear or apple. The possibilities of adding vegetables and fruits are endless as you can have them prepared raw, roasted, steamed, dried, or fresh. I routinely enjoy Nourish Bowls, which is a meal in a bowl with the perfect balance of nutrition.
- Stir-fry. Stir-fry what I call quick skillet meals, are easily one of the best ways to quickly heat through leftover vegetables from roasting the night before or leftovers in general. You can also use organic frozen vegetables is you’re in a time crunch- both of these strategies help to increase the volume to your meal and add “bulk” making it seem like you’re actually eating a lot more than you really are- in terms of calories as well. This tip is especially great for those losing weight or being mindful of maintaining their weight.
- Desserts. Yep, I said it. Vegetables in dessert. Don’t be fooled into thinking I was only talking about enjoying fruit for dessert- that’s a given! Vegetables can actually be incorporated into desserts or sweet treats. For example, I have a recipe using sweet potatoes and chocolate in truffles, or by using beets in brownies, avocados in chocolate mousse or popsicles! All of which open your taste buds to a whole new world of flavors, but also a sneaky way to increase vegetables and fruits. We’re also in grilling season and fruits are delicious when grilled, topped with a simple dusting of cinnamon and served warm.
I challenge you for every week this month, to incorporate at least one of these tips per day!
Eat well, be well, live well!
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN