You may already know that eating seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day actually decreases your risk of dying by 42% yet 87% of us are not even meeting the recommended intake of 5 servings per day! Which is crazy, considering that by implementing this one single habit into your daily life, you can decrease your risk of death from all causes by almost half! So what gives? Why are all of us not jumping on the veggie bandwagon? Well, after turning to facebook for some answers, it turns out that your reasons are as follows:
- Fruits and veggies are too expensive;
- It takes too long to shop for and/or prepare vegetables;
- Fresh produce perishes too fast, and;
- Fruit and vegetable selection in stores is unimpressive.
So after doing some research, I compiled some simple tips to address these concerns as well as some tricks you can use to add in more veggies and fruits into your daily diet:
- Take baby steps – Try adding in just one extra fruit or veggie a day and build from there.
- Buy the best you can afford – Fresh, high quality fruits and veggies taste so much better! Try shopping at the farmer’s markets where everything was picked fresh.
- Shop seasonally – Here is a great seasonal produce guide for Ontario and a downloadable guide for Canada.
- Shop selectively – If you are a fan of organic produce but find it to be too expensive, shop organic selectively by buying the Clean Fifteen produce conventionally, because they have the least amount of pesticides, and the Dirty Dozen organically, because they have the highest amounts of pesticides.
- Take advantage of technology – There are some amazing apps out there (checkout51 and flipp, for example) that make shopping on sale and price matching much easier.
- Set aside an hour to prep – After you buy your groceries, immediately wash, prep and chop your veggies (or buy prepared veggie / fruit trays) so that all the work is done right off the bat. This way you will be more likely to eat them and less food will go to waste.
- Sign up for a CSA or food delivery service – CSAs and food delivery services will deliver your groceries to your front door without you ever having to step into a store.
- Experiment – Try buying some fruits and veggies that you have never tasted before, who knows you may just discover a new favourite!
- Make your produce visible – Storing healthy food in the most convenient and visible location will ensure that you are more likely to eat it. Grocery stores use this trick to get you to spend more, by placing the most expensive brands at eye level.
- Upgrade your sides – Replace your typical side dish (read: carbs) with roasted veggies instead. Root vegetables taste particularly great when drizzled with some coconut oil and roasted in the oven.
- Eat salad as your meal – Make your salad your main dish rather than an accompaniment to your meal – top it with chicken, salmon, shrimp, tuna, turkey, beans or eggs.
- Eliminate unhealthy snack options – If you only have fruits and veggies available, that’s what you will reach for (ie. stop buying granola bars, chips, cookies and fruit yogurts)
- Take a greens supplement – My favourite is vanilla Genuine Health’s Greens+O powder because it is gluten-free and dairy-free and third-party tested for purity and contaminants, but if you are not gluten-free you can also try Greens+ extra energy, which comes in orange and cappuchino flavours. I love this infographic which shows the benefits of greens+.
Now if you still find yourself struggling because you just don’t enjoy the taste of fruits and vegetables, then you can always use the following ideas which will help you sneak them into your meals (almost) unnoticed:
- Start with a smoothie – starting your day off with a smoothie at breakfast will ensure that you get at least 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in one shot – that means you are already halfway there before you leave the house.
- Learn to juice – juicing is another great way to get a large amount of fruits and veggies in one shot. Buy a slow masticating juicer and use organic produce whenever you can.
- Make some soup – Kid and adults alike are more likely to eat vegetables when they are pureed into a creamy soup (without the cream!). Try pureed broccoli, zucchini, tomato, carrot or butternut squash n apple to start.
- Upgrade your salad – Don’t stick with the same old boring salad – try combining steamed and raw veggies, adding toppings like olives, dried / fresh fruit, nuts or seeds and make sure to learn how to make a delicious homemade dressing!
- Learn how to properly cook and season your veggies – no one likes the taste of bland veggies, so search online and learn how to properly bake, saute, steam and season your produce.
- Sneak them into your baked goods – think muffins and sweet breads, cookies, cakes, and yes, even donuts – veggies and fruits can be added to almost any baked good.
- Sneak them into your meals – think pasta sauce, meatballs, lasagna, meatloaf, stir-frys, stews, sandwiches, wraps and pizza.
- Dip them into something – Salsa, guacamole, hummus, yogurt dip and nut butters can add to the taste of fruits and veggies, at least until your taste buds adjust.
Hopefully I have inspired you to reach for a few more fruits and veggies everyday. Your body will thank you for it!
If you have any other tips for meeting your daily fruit and vegetable intake, we would love to hear them! Please use the following hashtags to tag us: #helpyourselftoseconds #michellevodrazka #liveyourpassion #genuinehealth