Eat Your Greens!
... And Oranges, Reds, Yellows, and Blues, Too!
It's hard to argue with the health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables and fruits: Lower blood pressure; reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers; lower risk of eye and digestive problems; and a mellowing effect on blood sugar that can help keep appetite in check.
Most people should aim for at least NINE servings (at least 4½ cups) of vegetables and fruits a day, and potatoes don't count. Go for a variety of kinds and colors of produce, to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Best bets? Dark leafy greens, tomatoes, and anything that's a rich yellow, orange, or red color.
Here are some PRACTICAL TIPS to get in those 9 servings a day (roughly 1/2 cup per serving):
1. Keep fruit out where you can see it. That way you'll be more likely to eat it. Keep it out on the counter or in the front of the fridge.
2. Add fruits and vegetables to foods you like. Add fruit to yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, French toast, cottage cheese, etc. Add vegetables to chili, stew, casseroles, pasta, pasta salad, omelets, pizza, and so on. You can also dip raw veggies in your favorite light salad dressing.
3. Make fruits and vegetables part of every meal and snack.Try filling half your plate with vegetables at each meal. Serving up salads, stir fry, or other vegetable-rich fare makes it easier to reach this goal. At snack time, try dried fruit or a single-serving veggie packet.
4. Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice or vegetable juice each day. You could have itas a morning or afternoon snack or with a meal. Some of the high-nutrient fruit juices are orange juice, grapefruit juice, and purple grape juice.
5. Make fruit salad. No one can resist a beautiful fresh fruit salad. There’s something very appetizing about an assortment of fruit in different shapes, colors, and flavors, all tossed together.
6. Bag the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbs. Try one of these delicious whole grains recipes as an alternative to potatoes.
7. Start the day off right. For Breakfast, substitute some spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in your morning omelet. Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries.
8. Lighten up your lunch. Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup.
9.Take a good luck at your dinner plate. Vegetables or fruit should take up at least 50% of your plate. If they do not, replace some of the meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with legumes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable.
10. Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet. Get out of a rut and try some new fruits and vegetables.
Check out some of my favorite fruit and vegetable recipes from the links above!
To Your Health,
H -- CAS