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Increasing Vegetable Intake

January 29, 20222 min read

Most of us are aware that eating more vegetables and fruit are a key part of eating healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 12 percent of adults consume 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit daily and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. For optimal health, aiming for at least 10 servings of vegetables a day and 1-2 servings of fruit (aiming for low glycemic fruits such as berries or tomatoes and cucumbers) and another 2 servings of leafy green vegetables can really pay off long term. Vegetables are a fantastic source of antioxidants, fiber, nutrients and minerals which our bodies need. Even if you’re on a Keto diet, you should be aiming for about 7 cups of vegetables a day in order to be getting the nutrition your body needs to function and remain healthy.  

Research shows that including more vegetables in one’s diet can help lower blood pressure, aid digestion and keep weight under control, reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and may protect against certain cancers.

Here are some easy ideas for getting more vegetables onto your plate:

1.      Add some spinach, Swiss chard, or other leafy greens to your smoothie.

2.      Serve meals on a bed of leafy lettuce or mixed greens.

3.      Grow your own fresh herbs and make salads & dressings.

4.      Go ethnic when you cook. Indian foods and other ethnic foods are creative with vegetables and creative options.

5.      Those French fries you’re eating don’t count….

6.      Get creative and make simple ratatouille from sliced onions, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes

7.      Vegetable soup!

8.      Have a fun “crudités” hour with the family before dinner. Cut up cucumber slices, carrots, celery and tomatoes and serve with hummus as a pre-meal hors d’œuvres.

9.      Adopt a plant-based diet one day a week.

10.   Have a few go to vegetable dishes you and your family enjoy and switch them out every week.

11.   Try steaming vegetables. It takes less than 6 minutes to steam broccoli and is delicious with a squeeze of lemon juice and some olive oil.

12.   Go for the frozen vegetables. They’re just as healthy as the fresh version. Really!

13.   Load up pizza with vegetables.

14.   Find a Buddha Bowl recipe you enjoy and personalize it with steamed vegetables you like.

15.   Get adventurous and try a new vegetable a week. Steam and drizzle with olive oil. Try it with different herbs. Make it an adventurous experiment. Buy the purple broccoli, make a radish sandwich (with a hint of organic butter!), try broccoli rabe with whole wheat pasta and a touch of parmesan.

Thinking out of the box about incorporating more vegetables and fruit in our diet isn’t hard, but it can take some effort. Remember – what we appreciate, appreciates! When we think more about a habit we’d like to change, the probability of that habit changing changes. It’s not too late to make lasting changes.

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