You’ve all seen the food guide right? It says we are supposed to eat 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. However knowing and doing are two different things aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not that easy to get them all in isn’t it? Our society today is constantly bombarded with fast food and junk food. How many of you would rather fill up on chips and dip instead of some carrot sticks or an apple? Answer honestly now!
Well today I want to share with you a few creative ways to sneak some extra vegetables and fruit into your daily diet.
- Make breakfast smoothies. Smoothies are so quick and easy you can’t help but fall in love with them instantly. All you have to do is throw some fruit, milk, and ice in a blender , and viola, breakfast is served. My hubby and I have smoothies every morning for breakfast and have been doing so for the last 2 years. Not only do we get sick less but we also have lost weight.
- Snack on dried fruit. Dried fruit can be thrown in with some nuts in a bag and make a great mid day snack. You can also add it to homemade oatmeal in the morning. As tasty as dried fruit is, remember it is high in sugar and has less fiber than the whole fruit so eat it in moderation.
- Make fruit and veggie sandwiches. Add some fruits and vegetables to your sandwiches. Fresh strawberries sliced taste great with peanut butter; Or add some lettuce, tomato, or maybe even some cucumber. A veggie and hummus sandwich is one of my favourites.
- Get into salads. Salads are one of the most versatile dishes you can make. No matter what flavour combination you like, it is possible in a salad. If you like Mexican flavours make a salad with tomatoes, avocadoes, lettuce, and corn. If you like Greek flavours make a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and lettuce. Salads are a quick and easy meal that is packed with nutrition.
- Make your own juice. The juices you buy at the grocery store are often loaded with added sugar. Instead, make your family a homemade blend. One of our favourites is carrot, orange, mango, and banana juice.
- Have fruit for dessert. Who says dessert has to be cake or cookies?! Instead, serve fruit for dessert. If you want to really get your kids excited, melt a little bit of chocolate in a double boiler and create your own fondue party. Things like melons, bananas, and strawberries work great for this.
- Eat produce as a snack. So many of us have hectic schedules that we are often on the go when we are hungry. Grab an apple or banana to snack on while you are out and about. Not only will this satisfy your hunger but it will also stop you from hitting the local fast food joint.
- Try something new. I bet there are at least five different kinds of fruits and veggies that you have never tried. If you are bored with the same old selection, try something exotic. You can get all sorts of cool produce varieties at your local ethnic market. Star fruit, plantains, papayas, and passion fruits are some of our favourites.
- Soup it up. Soup is an awesome way to get extra veggies into your diet. Make some homemade broth and then add in some carrots, lentils, peas, etc. to give your meal a nutritional boost. We eat a lot of soups at home. Some of them are pureed soups like butternut squash or ginger carrot while others are broth based loaded with lentils and beans. Soups not only fill you up well but they also help control your caloric intake.
- Grow your own produce. Nothing is more satisfying for me than heading out my back door and grabbing some fresh grown produce to add to my meal. If you have never grown anything before, check with your local garden centre to find out what grows best in your climate. Start with simple things like tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs that will be sure to give you a harvest. Once you get your garden going I promise you, you will be motivated to use it because the stuff will taste amazing.
You see, adding extra produce into your family’s diet isn’t that challenging. Try incorporating a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating healthier in no time.
So, are you going to eat more fruits and veggies? I hope so.
I must admit – we don’t eat nearly enough produce. One of my biggest goals this summer/fall is to get get a good store of dehydrated and home-canned fruits and vegetables to last us through next winter. Of course, that affects what we eat during the winter, but it’s cheaper and, I feel, healthier to home-preserve foods that are local and seasonal.
Dehydrated vegetables can be easily slipped into almost any food during the winter. Dried grated zucchini disappears into soup, sandwiches, and I even sprinkle a little in scrambled eggs.
And if you have fresh apples – my kids love when I finely chop an apple and a handful of pickles and add that to any chopped-meat sandwich (chicken, pork, ham). That goes over better in our house than celery does, and apples store very well.
@ Canadian Doomer. Don’t worry, you are not the only one. Many people don’t eat the as much produce as they should . You do have a good plan for the summer though. I would just be careful about how much dehydrated and canned sources you eat. Canned produce can be high in sodium which isn’t healthy and dehydrated produce can be high in sugar. Granted they are good for some things but they shouldn’t be the staple in your diet.
Glad to hear about the fresh apples. Apples are really good for you and the skin is high in fiber. Remember that old tale: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Eating fresh produce instead of juice and other forms is much healthier.
I am a big fan of veggies and dip (hummus). It is important for the adults to model the behavior as well as come up with interesting choices.
@ Krantcents I too love hummus. In fact, I love chickpeas. They are just so versatile.
I agree. It is important for adults to set a good example and to make sure that healthy food is kept fun. Getting your kids excited about healthy dishes will have a huge impact on their future health when they have to cook for themselves.
I used to eat far more produce as a child when we had stuff growing in the back yard. Now in order to make myself eat more fruits and veggies I have to plan ahead. I buy a stock of stuff on Sundays, then wash and package into small containers for the week. I make it a point to grab a package of fruit with every meal so this way I am still getting something. I have three different types of fruit in containers at a time so I get a different one with each meal so I don’t get bored.
@ Lulu. Wow, you are awesome. You totally remind me of myself. We do something similar to make our lunch making a bit easier. I applaud your system. I am sure your body thanks you for such nutritious snacks.
We hope our garden yields well this year. Eating what you have grown yourself is so very satisfying.
Mrs. SPF has been actually able to get 8 servings of fruits and veg each day. We try to avoid the ominous top 10 list of sprayed foods and opt for organic on those greens. She has done a very good job making sure lil’ SPF is getting proper nutrients.
@ SPF. I agree. Nothing tastes quite as good as the stuff you grow yourself. I am glad to hear Mrs. SPF is getting little SPF the nutrients they need. Prenatal health is so important. Kudos to the 8 servings a day. That is huge compared to many. As usual you two are setting a great example.