We have all heard it before – Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Increased fruit and vegetable intake is associated with optimized nutrition and decreased risk of many diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke etc.
It’s something we have been told since we were kids, and it’s something you will probably tell your kids too!
Luckily with the surge in popularity of plant-based eating and with the increased variety of international food on grocery store shelves the options for increasing your fruit and veggie intake are endless.
1. Cut your fruits and vegetables
I know this one sounds like a no-brainer but make sure you take the time to actually pre your fruit and veggies so they can be easily used. Pre chop, peel or wash your fruits and vegetables so you can just reach into the fridge and grab them to eat or throw into a salad or recipe.
2. Place fruits and vegetables at eye level in the fridge
Did you know there is actually a proper way to store food in the fridge? If not, check out my article here on kitchen nudges. If you keep your (already washed, chopped and prepped) veggies at eye level it will be more enticing to ACTUALLY eat them or use them.
Tip: Make sure in your fridge that healthy snacks are available at kids eye level if possible this will allow them to be more self-sufficient if they are hungry!
3. Don’t be afraid of frozen and canned vegetables
Many of us have literal nightmares from when we were kids of frozen and canned food. I know I have memories of eating canned beans and cream of corn which are not my favourite.
Here is the thing: frozen and canned vegetables have the SAME nutrition as fresh ingredients, they last a long time, are cost effective and they can help to spice up some of your meals.
o Try adding frozen edamame to your salads and bowls for an added kick of protein and fibre.
o Canned lentils or chickpeas are a quick protein and fibre source that you can add to salads at lunch.
o Frozen avocado takes the guessing game out of whether your avocado is going to be ripe for smoothies or guacamole.
4. Buy one new fruit or vegetable once a month that you have never tried before. Google a recipe.
Have you ever noticed that your meal prep list or the meals you eat every week are very similar?
Not only does eating a variety of foods help keep things interesting at meal time, but it can also make sure that you are getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrition your body needs as well! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help with your gut
5. Buy vegetable or vegan cookbooks or look for magazine recipes
Let me tell you a little secret – eating healthy does not have to mean eating boring food. You can always spice up and nudge your routine back on track by looking at online recipes, looking through old cookbooks or magazines for inspiration.
Sometimes it takes pulling them off the shelf to nudge you in the direction of a healthier and more fun meal.
Van Duyn, M. A. S., & Pivonka, E. (2000). Overview of the Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption for the Dietetics Professional: Selected Literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100(12), 1151–1121. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-8223(00)00420-X