Add Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet
Most Americans don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables. Read on to learn how to add more fruits and vegetables to your own diet.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that Americans consume more fruits and vegetables, as they are protective against heart disease, stroke, and perhaps certain types of cancer. Though fruits and vegetables provide these benefits, some people may have trouble including them in their diets.
Fortunately, it is easy to incorporate fruits and vegetables into any diet. The following are ways that you can consume more fruits and vegetables and enjoy the health benefits that they provide.
Spice up Your Salads
If you’re eating salads that consist of solely lettuce, croutons, and dressing, now is the time to add extra vegetables to your bowl. Slice cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes and include them in your salads.
You can nearly meet your dietary requirements for the entire day by adding vegetables to your salads. After all, half a cup of chopped vegetables counts as one of the 3-5 servings of vegetables you need each day, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Enjoy a Healthy Dessert
If you have a sweet tooth, you can learn to enjoy fruit by adding it to your desserts. Top vanilla ice cream with half a cup of strawberries and blackberries, or enjoy an apple with low-fat caramel sauce after dinner.
You can also treat yourself to a flavorful fruit smoothie, instead of a fattening, sugary milkshake, as an after-dinner treat. For a fast, easy-to-make smoothie, blend a cup of strawberries, a cup of blackberries, a cup of milk, and a cup of vanilla yogurt, and add a teaspoon of lime juice for flavor.
Add Vegetables to Your Favorite Meals
You can add vegetables to many popular dishes, and chances are you won’t even notice a difference in taste, even if you’re not too fond of leafy greens. Add sliced tomatoes and cucumbers to pasta salads, for example, or make a homemade pizza and top it with tomatoes and peppers.
In addition, you can increase your vegetable intake by making small changes to your meals. Remember to include lettuce and tomato on your chicken sandwich, for instance, and order your steak with fresh vegetables.
Choose Snacks that Include Fruits and Vegetables
Instead of noshing on high fat chips and cookies, select a snack that consists of fruits or vegetables. If you enjoy crunchy snacks, enjoy carrots and hummus or celery dipped in low fat ranch dressing. If you’re looking for an energy boost, top an apple or banana with peanut butter. You may also enjoy yogurt topped with berries.
If you’re feeling creative, make your own salsa by chopping tomatoes, onions, and peppers and mixing them in a bowl with corn, black beans, and fresh cilantro. Top whole grain crackers or tortilla chips with the finished product for a healthy snack that includes a serving of vegetables.
Including fruits and vegetables in your snacks is just one of several ways that you can meet the dietary guidelines set by the Department of Agriculture. Also consider adding fruits and vegetables to salads, desserts, and meals, and you’ll be well on your way to eating a balanced diet and enjoying a healthy life.