Fruits and Vegetables: Twelve Easy Ways to Eat More
12 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Dr. Kristie Leong
It's an unfortunate reality that most people aren't eating the recommended five-or-more servings of fruits and vegetables a day - and they're missing out on some great benefits. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, and they're a rich source of antioxidants that protect cells from damage and fiber to promote digestive health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
So, why aren't more people adding vegetables and fruits to their dinner plates? Some think they're hard-to-prepare, and others simply don't like their taste. Fortunately, there are easy ways to get more fruits and vegetables that don't take a lot of time - and that taste good too. Need some ideas?
Easy Ways to Eat More Fruit
(1) Freeze grapes in the freezer and pop them into your mouth as a cold treat on a hot summer day - or puree fruit and pour them into popsicle molds to make all-natural popsicles that are loaded with antioxidants.
(2) Chop up your favorite fresh fruits and broil them at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for six minutes. When you remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with brown sugar and a light touch of whipped cream. Berries are a good choice since they're rich in anthocyanins, which help to protect brain cells from aging.
(3) Sprinkle half an apple with cinnamon and brown sugar, and bake it in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Drizzle with a little maple syrup and enjoy its sweet flavor. Apples are loaded with fiber and pectin that help to lower cholesterol levels and keep you full longer.
(4) Make a fresh fruit smoothie. Puree your favorite frozen fruits in a blender with low-fat yogurt and orange juice. Choose a variety of fruits to benefit from a diversity of healthy antioxidants. Choose yogurt with active cultures to take advantage of the natural probiotics it contains.
(5) Decorate your morning cereal or bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and chopped apples. Enjoy it with a cup of fresh fruit juice.
(6) Mix plain yogurt that contains active cultures with fresh fruit puree you make in the blender to create your own custom fruit yogurt that's rich in probiotics and antioxidants. Yummy!
(7) Sure you've had an apple and a banana, but have you ever tried a durian or cherimoya? More supermarkets are carrying exotic fruits like these. Explore fruits that you've never tried before. You may discover a new favorite food.
Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables
(8) Start each meal with a salad. Skip the iceberg lettuce and opt for more nutrient-rich offerings such as romaine lettuce or spinach for the base of your salad. See how colorful you can make it by adding red cabbage, carrots, radishes and red peppers. If preparing a salad is too time-consuming, head to a grocery store that offers a salad bar or buy pre-packaged salads. Add to the taste appeal of your salad by sprinkling it with nuts, chickpeas, or sunflower seeds instead of croutons. Top it off with salsa for a new taste sensation.
(9) When you go to a restaurant, skip the fries and order a side of vegetables instead. More restaurants offer veggie sides these days, and it's a simple way to reduce the number of calories you take in too. If you order a sandwich, tell them to add extra lettuce and tomato.
(10) Drink your veggies by sipping a cup of vegetable juice each day. If you buy canned vegetable juice, choose the low-sodium kind.
(11) Add frozen or pureed vegetables to soups, and put raw or roasted vegetables on your pizza. Chop them up and put them in omelets, and stuff them into wraps. Keep chopped vegetables or bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer - ready to go.
(12) Go meatless one day a week, and make vegetables the focus of your meals.
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