As children, many of us were forced to eat our fruits and vegetables, some even under the threat of a time-out or losing our dessert. As adults, we have a lot more choice when it comes to what we eat and how we treat our bodies, but a lot of that resentment towards greens, especially like broccoli or spinach, remains from when we were kids.
This has led to a growing trend of skipping healthy options like fruits and vegetables and substituting sugar snacks and fast food dinners, but it doesn’t have to be like that. In this article, we are going to take a look at how something as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight, curb digestive problems, and have a good time doing it.
Some of you might be thinking “I don’t need fruits and vegetables, I am happy with how I look and what I eat,” which may very well be true. However, this isn’t just about going on a diet or trying to lose weight, this is about maintaining a healthy and working body. Fruits and vegetables are a big part of that.
One of the main reasons why this is so important comes from Harvard researchers who have come up with the ideal Healthy Meal Plate. Almost half of this plate is fruits and vegetables, with only a quarter for proteins like meat and the rest for wheat and grains.
Think back to your last few meals: were fruits and vegetables half of your meal? How about a quarter? Were there any?
If you fall into either of the latter camps, don’t fret! Most people aren’t getting the intake of fruits and vegetables that they need, even though studies show that they can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, and so much more. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
It can be difficult throughout the course of a busy day to get the food that you need, especially when the options out there are so much more appetizing. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to enjoy fruits and vegetables without sacrificing taste or time.
Smoothies to the rescue!
Now when you think of a smoothie you might picture an overpriced sugary drink or a gross lawn-work filled green juice, but that is not what we are talking about. Smoothies are simply an easy way to get your daily fruits and vegetables in a condensed, easy-to- consume way.
One of the hardest parts about maintaining a good level of fruits and vegetables in your diet is learning enough recipes to keep up a good amount of variety. Since there isn’t one vegetable or fruit that can meet all of your needs, making smoothies allows for lots of variety in one drink.
Consider something like a smoothie containing bananas, oranges, and apples or apple juice. Just with those three ingredients (which are delicious, by the way) you can get needed potassium from the bananas, vitamin D from the oranges, and vitamin C from the apples, all in one drink!
Another great thing about smoothies is that they are relatively inexpensive to make at home. Before the next time you head to the store, consider looking up some smoothie recipes and grabbing the necessary fresh fruits so you can have them on hand. Some experts even recommend keeping your fruit out on your table as a visual reminder to eat more fruit.
“What about if I am on the go and not sure the next time I will be able to make a smoothie?” In that case, there are plenty of different selections of frozen fruit medleys in the freezer aisle that will last longer than fresh fruit and require less effort when the mood for a smoothie arises. You might also consider making a double serving of smoothies and saving them in your refrigerator for the next few days as an easy running-out-the-door drink.
What about Veggies?
While smoothies are not exclusively a fruit thing, the majority of ingredients you will find for them are not vegetables (with the exception of kale and spinach), so how are we going to tackle this other food group? Here are a couple of different options to try.
A new trend has been taking over diet blogs, and this one lives up to the hype. With constant innovations in technology and the prevalence of late night infomercials, we have now come to a place where anything can be made out of vegetables.
- Love pasta but are worried about the carbs? Try spiralizing a zucchini!
- Want to spice up your salads? Try spiralizing beetroots for a new taste!
The possibilities for spiralizing things are endless. Check out a few of them here.
Throw them in a Stir Fry!
If you are having trouble eating enough vegetables on their own, an easy way to eat a lot of them at once is to make a healthy stir fry. There are countless different recipes online for healthy stir fries. Consider trying one out for yourself sometime soon!
No matter how you eat your fruits and vegetables – whether you put them in a smoothie, bake them, mash them, stick them in a stew, whatever floats your boat – you will see significant changes in your mood and overall health by incorporating them into your diet.
A big reason why we enjoy vegetables is that they can help with digestive problems. Sometimes you can get stressed out from work or have been going too hard at the gym lately and it can lead to stomach cramps. Next time this happens, try a healthy detox smoothie if you are on the run, or if you have some time, try a good stir fry recipe.
Once you are able to get over any fear or apprehension about eating fruits and vegetables, you should have no trouble maintaining a healthy weight as long as you stick to it. Now go out there and eat some greens!