I know – who’s got the time to worry about, let alone count how much fruit and vegetables we consume a day. Especially when you’re on the fly and the only thing you can think of the fill the hunger is a cheese sandwich. Well stand-by, help is at hand, I am here to give you the low down on getting the 5 into your belly each day.
According to the food pyramid set down by pretty much under any healthy eating initiative, people need five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. That seems like a lot. So, how can you get all of them in?
The world is a fast moving place. We always seem to be in a hurry to get or leave someplace. In that rush, we often forget to eat. When we think of it, we opt for fast food fare or anything quick to stop the hunger so we can keep on moving.
Unfortunately, this leads to bad eating habits that can expand your waistline. And, don’t even mention fruits and vegetables. The average adult gets far less of the required intake each day. We are way too deficient in that area. And, if adults are deficient, what hope is there for the kids?
Learn how to make five a day (and more) a reality with these few tips.
Use fruit as a snack – How will you reach for fruit instead of chips? Well, take the chips out of the house. Then, cut up your fresh fruit in preparation for snack time. Whip up a little fruity cream cheese dip so that kids can enjoy dipping their fruits. What fruits work well for this? Try strawberry pieces, bananas, peaches, melon, oranges and apples. Apples are also great dipped in low-fat caramel.
Vegetables as a snack – One good turn deserves another. Lay out veggie trays for family and friends to snack on when they come over. Avoid bringing sugary snacks at get-togethers so no one has to be tempted with unhealthy fare.
Drink your juice – When you are in a hurry, you may not necessarily want to munch on an apple. With all the fiber, it will be slow going to get it all down. How about juice? There has been a lot of literature on fruit juices. As long as you stick to 100% fruit juice and no more than eight ounces a day you won’t get too many calories and you can count that as one of your five a day.
An alternative is to juice your own fruits and vegetables. Invest in a juicer and create your own combinations that have all of the nutrients with none of the preservatives and extra sugar. If you are a purest and want all the pulp fiber, even better invest in a processor (NutriBullet, Vitamix…). Oh, and you are aloud to juice/process in advance and freeze for grab and go – or bottle it in the ‘fridge’, and consume within 24 hours. Just fill right to the top to make sure the air is expelled – you know, that no light and air thing about keeping it fresh.
Dried snacks – This works best with fruit. Carry a bag of dried fruits with you to snack on when you want something sweet. Be mindful of the amount of calories and sugar you will be consuming – a little goes a long way. I love freeze dried fruits.
Spruce up dips and sauces – Cut a few extra vegetables for sauces, casseroles and salsa. It already contains some vegetables when you buy them from the store, but those extras you add provide texture and more opportunities to sneak in a few extra veggies. Don’t forget the veggie water you’ve steamed or boiled your veggies in for extra goodness. I can drink this alone without gagging – seriously, it’s quite OK. Otherwise use it as a base for just about anything – sauces, liquid for mash, the list goes on.
So, how are you going to get your five a day? I love any new ideas and tips to add the 5 a day to my life. The above examples can get you started. You can certainly find other ways to enhance your foods throughout the day.