Taste The Rainbow – How to Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Did you know that studies suggest that more than 85% of adults do NOT meet fruit and vegetable intake recommendations?
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should be consuming 1.5 – 2 cups of fruits and 2 – 3 cups of vegetables a day.
Think back to your last meal – how colorful was your plate? Were there leafy greens, bright tomatoes, colorful peppers, or vibrant berries on it? Or was it all perhaps the same color?
Making sure your plate includes various colors is a great visual cue to remember to add fruits and vegetables to your meal. Not only will your plate look more vibrant, but it will also be full of vitamins and minerals. The American Heart Association suggests adding color to your plate each day with the five main color groups to make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need:
- Blue & Purple
- Red & Pink
- Orange & Yellow
You don’t have to completely change how you eat to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your day! There are many reasons why you may not be eating as many fruits and vegetables as you should – see below for common reasons and for tips on how to hopefully join the small percentage of adults that do meet their daily recommendations!
If You Simply Forget to Eat Them
Sometimes it’s just hard to remember to eat fruits or vegetables. You might put be putting your fruits and veggies in the crisper drawers at the bottom of the fridge, but you know what they say – out of sight, out of mind. Keep your fruits and veggies in the front and center of your fridge at eye level so you see them as soon as you open the door!
If You Don’t Typically Like the Taste of Them
If you don’t typically like the taste of fruits or vegetables, don’t let that deter you! My first suggestion would be to try new kinds of fruits and veggies – you may not like apples or spinach, but have you tried carambola (star fruit), pitaya (dragon fruit), or purple sweet potatoes?
There are also plenty of ways to sneak in some fruits and veggies into your meals! For those who like baking, there are many recipes that include fruit or vegetables. Bananas, blueberries, and pumpkin are great additions to many baked goods. You can also find recipes that have virtually tasteless vegetables like zucchini, avocados, or sweet potatoes.
Another idea? Buy pasta with vegetables already in them! Brands like Barilla and Ronzoni sell pasta that include half or a full serving of vegetables per serving depending on the type of pasta.
If They’re Never Ready When You Need Them
We’ve all been there – you’re about to head out the door, you go to grab a salad for lunch or carrots for a snack and you remember: you never cleaned and cut your veggies or put together that salad.
Clean, chop, and store your fruits and veggies all at once so you can easily add them to your meals or grab them as snacks. Choppers are widely available online and in stores and can make your job even easier! Better yet – buy pre-washed and pre-chopped fruits/veggies. They may be a little more expensive, but they may be worth it if that’ll help you actually eat them before they go bad.
If You Buy Them, But They Go Bad Too Quickly
The best kind of fruits and vegetables? The ones you actually eat! If every time you buy fresh produce it goes bad, why not buy frozen or canned food? Frozen vegetables are very versatile and can be steamed, added to stir fry recipes, roasted, etc. Frozen fruit are perfect for things like smoothies! Canned fruit and vegetables are also a great option – just try to avoid buying any with added salt or sugar.
If You Need Ideas
Maybe you’re already grabbing them as snacks, but don’t know how to incorporate them into your meals. Fret not! It’s super easy to add them to what you’re already eating. Add veggies like tomatoes, lettuce, and onions as toppings to your sandwiches. If you like pasta, try a pasta primavera recipe that incorporates veggies like red onion, bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, and tomatoes. Similarly, you can do this the next time you make eggs! Blend your favorite fruits with your preferred type of milk or juice for a smoothie! You sneak in spinach or kale and not even notice it, or if you prefer something less sweet, opt for more vegetables to make a green smoothie!
Still need ideas? Log into your Motivation Alliance account and use the Recipe library! With a Recipe of Day, search function, and filtering ability for inclusions/exclusions, it’s a great way to find your new favorite meal.
American Heart Association. (2020). Eat more color infographic. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/eat-more-color
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, January 7). Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations – United States, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7101a1.htm?s_cid=mm7101a1_w
Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2020, December). Make Every Bite Count With the Dietary Guidelines. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and Online Materials | Dietary Guidelines for Americans. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials
We want you to be well and to live your best life. The content in this blog is provided for the purposes to educate and entertain you: our very important reader. It is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice from a trained healthcare professional.
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Listen to your care providers as they know you and your condition best. Thank you for reading!
The Team at BSDI