Let’s face it, most of us can all use a little more fruits and vegetables in our lives. According to recent US consumption data more than 80% of Americans do not meet the 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit per day recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and for vegetable intake this number is even higher. But, getting more fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, with these simple tips upping your fruit and vegetable intake can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Soups on! – Soup is one of the easiest and most nutritious ways to add more vegetables to your diet. It’s also a great way to increase variety, use up vegetables you may not know what to do with and make some of your least favorite options easier to swallow. Broth soups are your best bets but pureed vegetable soups are also good choices. For more substance fill in with beans and pasta.
- Double Down – Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake doesn’t have to create more work in the kitchen. It may just be a matter bumping up portions. Why not try having a second helping of your favorite vegetable, taking an extra handful of grapes or taking two fruits – say an apple and an orange — to the office for lunch.
- Sneak them in – Incorporating more fruits and vegetables in everyday meals is a snap, if you just keep them in mind. Here are some of my three tried and true favorites: add 100% fruit juice in place of some oil in your homemade salad dressing. Not only will it cut the fat, it will add sweetness to your salad and extra vitamins and minerals. Instead of heavy sauces try dressing meats or chicken with a vegetable or fruit centered salsa. Finely chop or puree carrots or cauliflower and mix into spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese or casseroles.
- Drink Up – if you just don’t have the time to fit in more fruits and vegetables into your busy lifestyle, consider drinking 100% juice to help meet your needs. In addition to 100% fruit juice, there are also fruit and vegetable blends so you can get the best of both worlds.
- Make it Easy – Having cut up fruits and vegetables already washed and ready to grab and go straight from the refrigerator is one of the best ways to ensure that fruits and vegetables is always top of mind.
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About Diane Welland MS, RD
Diane Welland is a registered dietitian and Manager of Nutrition Communications of Juice Products Association. In this position, she manages nutrition policy and regulatory issues and works directly with the science community. Diane works closely to interpret new research as it pertains to the juice industry and frequently presents on nutrition issues.
In her spare time Diane likes to cook, garden and travel to foodie destinations.