While diets and trends come and go, one thing that every registered dietitian, doctor, health coach, etc. can agree upon is that fruits and vegetables are good for you.
Although fruit has recently gotten a lot of bad press for its sugar content, the bad rap is undeserved. Pretty much the only people who need to consider the sugar in fruit are diabetics.
For the rest of the population? Keep trying to eat as many fruits and veggies as you can.
And here’s how.
The Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Okay, we all know fruits and vegetables are good for you.
Fruits and veggies are crammed full of vitamins and minerals that aid in the functions of the body. They contain water to keep you hydrated and fiber to keep you “going.” (Yep, you know what I mean.)
The fiber also helps slow down the absorption of sugar in fruits. Instead of getting a fast boost to your blood sugar – like when eating candy or other foods with added sugars – the fiber helps slow that uptake.
Classified as carbohydrates, fruits and veggies give you energy. While most are low-calorie, they are also quite filling. If you’re getting your 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, you’re filling yourself with nutritious options rather than fatty, sugary, or high-calorie foods.
Unfortunately, not everyone likes fruits and vegetables.
I’ll admit, not every produce item gets me racing to the kitchen for dinner.
But there are LOTS of ways to sneak in your daily dose without too much effort or too much grimaced chewing. Because food is supposed to be enjoyable too.
4 Simple Tips for Eating More Fruits and Vegetables
1. Get a Sweet or Savory Start
Morning is the perfect time to sneak in some of these nutritious goods.
Before your groggy brain has time to catch on, stick some blueberries in your morning oatmeal or place some strawberries on the side of your eggs. If you have a bagel with peanut butter, put some banana slices on it.
If you tend to go the savory route, add avocado and tomato to your bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. Or load up your scrambled eggs with aaaall the veggies – onion, spinach, peppers, tomato, zucchini, and mushrooms.
You name it, it can have fruits or veggies added. So simple.
2. Satisfying Snacks
Contrary to popular belief, not all healthy snacks have to be carrots or celery sticks.
Instead, pair a fruit or veggie with a protein or fat to make it more satisfying. You can have tomatoes and mozzarella, bananas with peanut butter and cinnamon, yogurt with mixed berries, or bell peppers dipped in hummus. While you should keep the protein or fat portioned, you can have as much of the fruit or vegetable as you like!
Snacks are a great way to sneak fruits and veggies in.
3. Vegetables with Main Meals
For lunch and dinner, a great rule to live by is ALWAYS having a vegetable on the side. And it doesn’t have to be a whole head of broccoli or a bowl of raw kale (I mean, eww haha).
For example, if you have a sandwich, load it up with veggies – lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber, pickles, and more. While having a veggie base – such as a salad – is a guaranteed way to hit your quota, you can also simply throw peppers, onions, peas, and spinach into pastas. Or steam some carrots and broccoli on the side of your chicken and rice.
Msy favorite way to sneak in veggies at lunch is bringing a Tupperware of raw vegetables from home. Regardless of whether I made my own lunch or am buying it at work, I have my Tupperware full of cucumber slices, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes ready to go. And it takes mere seconds to prepare.
A really simple dinner hack is preparing a big bowl of salad at the beginning of the week. Then you always have a side salad to pair with dinner.
4. Dessert Date
After dinner is another perfect time for fruit. I’m always craving something sweet, so I like to start with an apple or a bowl of chopped fruit before diving into something less nutritious. Sometimes I’ll even be too full to go for the chocolate I have hidden in my pantry.
Check out my post on 5 healthy dessert alternatives for more fruity dessert ideas – especially if you’re a big chocolate lover like me.
Truth is, it’s easy to work in fruits and vegetables throughout our day. You just have to make it a priority and get creative.
And don’t forget you can always opt for frozen fruits and veggies instead of fresh, as both tend to be cheaper and obviously last wayyy longer. Personally, I love this option. You can warm frozen berries in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and put them on top of yogurt or oatmeal. Frozen veggies can easily be subbed for fresh during cooking or eating plain on the side – just beware of buttery sauces they may be in. I always recommend plain!
If you found this post helpful, check out some of my others on healthy eating: