Is it rough for you to squeeze enough roughage into your diet? I’ve compiled a list some of the helpful tips that I’ve accumulated from various magazines, news outlets and other sources. These pointers make obtaining your five-a-day quota of fruits and vegetables as simple as possible:
1. Start at the Beginning: Begin each meal with a fruit or vegetable. When you fill up on salad or fruit cocktail, you’ll be less likely to eat as much of the heavier fare that follows.
2. Snack Attack: If you need a snack, start with a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables. If you need more, move on to something else. But always start here. Training yourself to grab ripe produce when the hunger pangs strike is a much better habit to form than reaching for any chip bag that’s within reach.
3. Supper Solution: Consider vegetables to be the main course of dinner with a side of meat. In fact, conventional wisdom dictates that your plate should be divided into 1 part whole grain, 1 part low-fat meat/protein and 2 parts vegetables.
4. Seeing Clearly: Research shows that storing food in see-through containers in the fridge will make you more likely to eat it. Chop up some of your favorites into bite-size pieces on Sunday and graze on them throughout the week. Place less healthful options in opaque containers.
5. Jump in Fruit First: Store those fresh picks in the front of the fridge, freezer or pantry and bury junk food in the back to make yourself more likely to nosh on better nourishment.
6. Color Wheel: Challenge yourself to put a new fruit or vegetable on your shopping list. Incorporating a larger variety of colors and tastes into your diet gives you a more well-rounded dose of vitamins and antioxidants.
7. An Apple a Day: A study I recently read about from Penn State said that people ate about 200 calories less at lunch when they ate an apple 15 minutes prior than when they didn’t snack on anything.
8. Drink to Your Health: Some low-sodium veggie drinks provide you with an extra serving of vegetables without even trying! Protect your ticker. Duh, you could have a V8!
9. When making frozen dinners, whether personal-sized or family-sized, bulk them up with extra servings of complementary frozen vegetables. Simple and cheap! You can do this with canned soups, homemade soups or other dinners as well. Train your mind to pick out places where vegetables can be snuck in. Ever tried cauliflower in your mashed potatoes or applesauce in your muffins? Shhhhhh. They’ll never know!