I used to HATE vegetables. I mean I hated them!
In truth, I never really ate them enough to give them a chance. And fruit? It was ok, but I was lucky if I had more than a serving or two a day.
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in March of 2009 showed the same story is true of the majority of children and adolescents today. They just are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Sadly, this issue is also a problem for adults.
Fruits and vegetables really are our best friend in terms of nutrition – they are loaded with nutrition. From apples to zucchini, these natural foods are some of the best sources of vitamins and minerals. So how can we ensure we are eating enough?
Eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack.
You read that right: every meal or snack.
At breakfast, throw some fresh salsa in your scrambled eggs, top your cereal with fresh blueberries and bananas, or have a side of kiwi and strawberries with your oatmeal. For a mid-morning snack, have a handful of fresh carrots with a side of low-fat cottage cheese, or steamed edamame for a protein boost. My personal favorite is a cup of low-fat or Greek yogurt filled with fresh fruits of your choice and topped with natural granola or a little ground flax seed. Yum!
Lunch is a great time to have both a fruit and a vegetable. Have a fresh orange or apple with your entrée, and a side spinach salad or mixed vegetables is always a good idea. If you do not like raw vegetables, play with seasonings at home and heat them up if you take your lunch along to work.
Afternoon snacks and dinner are a great time to throw in more vegetables. I love experimenting with new varieties of vegetables. They add so much color to your meals! Try a medley of sautéed vegetables – red bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms. Or, grill up some asparagus and throw on a sprinkle of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Mmm.
Try one new fruit or vegetable a couple of times each month.
I am sure we have all heard that variety is the spice of life. It is also the spice of eating and a guaranteed way to enrich your eating experiences. Not long ago, I would not touch broccoli; but then I tasted some that had been steamed and lightly seasoned, and fell in love. Early on in college, I was quite skeptical of grapefruit, but thankfully, gained the courage to sample some and now have it as a side at breakfast on a regular basis.
I challenge you to pick up one new fruit or new vegetable a couple of times each month at the grocery store. You may be pleasantly surprised at the new flavors and textures you discover, and will likely find some new favorites.
Best of luck, and keep me updated on your successes! I would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.