We all know having a balanced, fruit and vegetable diet is important, right? After all, that’s what our parents always told us. However it seems most folks never took this advice to heart.
According to the USDA, we need 2.5 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit per day. However, the average American only consumes about 1.6 cups of veggies and 1 cup of fruit. How do fruits and vegetables fit into your diet plan?
Fruits and veggies contain all kinds of useful minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and can help your waistline. They can also be a great source of fiber.
That said, many of us struggle with maintaining a fruit and vegetable diet. If you belong in this group, here are 5 ways to enhance your fruit and veggie diet.
Change Your Approach
Change the way you think about fruits and vegetables.
All too often people associate fruit and vegetable diets with a bad experience, maybe from as far back as childhood. For example; They may associate sliced tomatoes with a slimy tomato they got on a stale sandwich or corn with salty canned corn served at their grandma’s house in the eighties.
The truth is, fruits and vegetables are amazing when selected and served correctly!
Instead of shopping for canned vegetables, buy them fresh from your local produce market. If you have any questions make sure to ask the employees.
At Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce we pride ourselves in a staff that is ready answer your questions and offer suggestions.
Click to find out what’s in season.
Find new ways to serve your fruits and vegetables. Sliced, sautéed or baked with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Discover the variety of colors available with a fruit and vegetable diet. It’s truly amazing how a colorful meal can inspire a meal for friends and family.
Whether shopping for tonight’s dinner for one or a family’s meals for the week, think about which fruits and/or veggies would taste good with it. As you experiment and try different options, you will find the preferences of you and those around you.
Take It to the Road
Some of us get hungry while we’re out running errands or on the way home. This is a perfect opportunity to add another serving of fruits and vegetables into your diet!
Remember to pick convenient on-the-go snacks. Some good examples include baby carrots, blueberries, and celery sticks. Having a small container of almonds or walnuts is a shrewd choice that stores well and adds protein to your daily snacking.
The next time you are shopping at your local Tacoma Boys or H&L Produce, look into our dried vegetable and fruit options. Banana Chips and Wasabi Peas are age old favorites.
Fun Fact: Peas are not actually vegetables. Can you guess what they are?
You are more likely to eat vegetables if they’re at hand, washed and ready to eat. There are a few ways to go about this.
You can buy pre-cut, pre-washed veggies, or you can chop them yourself.
How to cut fruits and vegetables the right way.
No matter which option you choose, your vegetables should always be stored in your fridge, ready for munching.
Think about what containers you use and where you place your vegetable snacks so that they are easily accessible.
While prepping your healthy snack time options, place a container of hummus or low-fat ranch near by. Having such dipping options handy will only increase your likelihood to maintain a solid fruit and vegetable diet.
Drink Your Fruits and Veggies
Processed juices are not a good way to increase your fruit intake. They are often high in sugar, low in key nutrients and honestly don’t tastes as good as freshly made juice. Instead, try making juices and smoothies on your own!
We often think of fruit when referring to juices and smoothies, but vegetables can be a healthy and delicious ingredient as well. Find fun ways to combine both fruits and vegetables depending on what’s in season and your desired end result.
Click here for vegetable juicing ideas.
You can often purchase vegetable smoothies off the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, or you can make them on your own.
Click here for vegetable smoothie ideas.
Also, consider adding some other items to your smoothies. Avocados, almonds, and chia seeds are all a great fit. These foods add some healthy fats and nutrients while enhancing the fruity taste.
Find Your Favorites
With such a wide variety of fruits and veggies out there, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a handful you like. Once you have a couple of favorites, keep buying them.
By understanding your preferences and exploring the foods you like, you’ll be more likely to stick to your diet. There are so many different recipes and ways to prepare each fruit and vegetable.
That said, it would do you good to leave your comfort zone once in a while. After all, experimenting with new options is the easiest way to find a new favorite. It may be that you don’t care for fresh tomatoes, but absolutely love them sautéed or sun-dried! Maybe boiled or steamed broccoli has never been your thing, but baked with a little olive oil, salt and pepper is!
More on a Fruit and Vegetable Diet
Considering all the benefits of a fruit and vegetable diet, it’s a wonder why so many people choose to ignore it. Thankfully, it’s never too late to change your ways and increase your fruit and veggie intake.
Not sure where to get fresh produce in Tacoma, WA? You can always visit one of our three stores. We’ve got a great selection of fruit and vegetables at affordable prices!