Only 25% of Americans get the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. The American Heart Association recommends eating eight or more fruit and vegetable servings every day. Even for those who like eating vegetables, it can be hard to get in all of those servings. Yet, increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption has many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, controlling blood pressure and aiding in weight loss.
Here are some easy and sneaky ways to add fruits and/or vegetables to every meal:
Pump up your morning oatmeal
Add fruit to oatmeal for a sweet and tasty boost. Bananas, berries, or apples all blend well with hearty oatmeal. Not a fan of sweet breakfasts? Make a savory oatmeal and add vegetables such as squash, carrots, or even spinach and tomatoes, along with a little cheese for added flavor!
Add veggies to your eggs
Whether you’re making scrambled eggs, a frittata, or egg cups, vegetables make a tasty and nutritious addition. The added veggies also boost fiber and help keep you full for longer.
Boost your smoothies
Fruits are a no brainer ingredient in smoothies but you can increase the nutrition by adding a handful or two of fresh greens, such as spinach. The sweetness of the drink masks the taste of the spinach. A half cup of frozen cauliflower also boosts nutrition without changing the flavor of your smoothie while a quarter of an avocado adds nutrients and a creamy texture.
Add vegetables to your pasta
Top your pasta with veggies sautéed in garlic and olive oil instead of your usual red sauce. If you can’t imagine pasta without sauce, add pureed zucchini and carrots to your marinara.
Replace the pasta
You can skip the pasta altogether and use spiralized vegetables instead. Zucchini, sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash all work well here but use your imagination and be adventurous by trying a variety of different vegetables.
Skip the bread
Make a wrap and use Boston lettuce or hearty greens, such as chard or kale, in place of the bread or tortillas. You’ll still have a filling meal and you’ll get vitamins and anti-oxidants while lowering your carb intake.
Crunch on kale chips
Craving potato or tortilla chips? Try noshing on kale chips instead. You can easily make your own or purchase them in the grocery store.
Have a salad with dinner
Dip your vegetables and fruits
Keep cut up veggies in the fridge for snacks or lunches. Hummus, salsa, low-fat ranch dressing, and guacamole all are all tasty and healthy dips. Slice up some fruit and dip it in yogurt or some peanut butter.
Try “nice” cream
Blend frozen fruit with yogurt for a smooth and sweet treat instead of ice cream.
Finely chop broccoli or cauliflower so it resembles grains of rice. Use these veggies in place of, or in addition to your favorite rice dishes.
Sneak vegetables into meatloaf
Steam cauliflower until tender and then blend it in a food processor with some Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper for a delicious side dish. You can substitute it for mashed potatoes or enjoy it as a different twist on plain cauliflower.
Add vegetables to soups and chili
This is good even if you are eating the canned variety. Toss in a handful or two of spinach, sliced carrots, leftover cooked vegetables, or diced tomatoes. You’ll boost your vegetable intake as well as the taste of the soup!
With a little creativity, you can boost your fruit and vegetable intake while still enjoying your favorite foods. All brightly colored fruits and vegetables are also full of anti-oxidants that can help fight inflammation in the body. If you notice that you are still having aches and pains, give us a call! We can create a treatment plan for your specific needs.