These healthy foods are a healthy secret weapon
Fall is the season of change, and it’s also a good time for us to take a look at our eating habits. September is Fruits and Veggies month—the perfect time to jumpstart some change in your diet! The theme for this year is “More Matters!” so let’s look to the “Fruits and Veggies—More Matters®” health initiative to remind us of all the great reasons to eat more of them. Taking the simple step to increase our intake of these food groups every day can do wonders to improve our health overall.
Here are some ways to begin:
Take a look at your plate
This rule of thumb is easy to remember. For each meal, you should fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Save the other half for grains and protein. This keeps the portions of those more calorie-dense foods in check, and gives you the chance to maximize the benefits you can get only from produce.
Use color to guide you
You want to eat an array of colors—from bright orange carrots, to yellow peppers, to squashes of different hues that light up the season. Purple eggplant and blueberries and blackberries also ensure you’re getting an array of vitamins.
Don’t worry about fresh
Even if you rely on frozen or canned fruits of veggies to squeeze in your servings at every meal, that’s fine! The important thing is that you’re including them, and satisfying your hunger with vitamin- and fiber-rich foods instead of other items.
Options for those who “don’t like veggies”
We’ve got some suggestions for you that mean you don’t necessarily have to choke down Brussels sprouts or asparagus. The trick is often to find a yummy fat to pair with a non-offensive veggie. Find something yummy, like yogurt dip, to accompany your carrot sticks; spread some peanut butter or cream cheese on a celery stick; try roasting a pan of vegetables that have been tossed in olive oil (carrots get especially sweet); sprinkle some grated cheese over broccoli or cauliflower and let it melt; put pasta sauce over noodles made of zucchini or butternut squash; add some baby spinach to a smoothie made with plenty of fruit—you’ll barely taste it!
Ways to sneak in servings of fruit
There are also ways to increase your fruit intake that don’t have you peeling oranges all day. Try some of these:
- Eat fruits that are in season—they’re more likely to be grown locally, taste better, and be less expensive. On the east coast in the fall, that means apples and pears, galore! Explore different varieties and pick ones you like best.
- Keep frozen fruit in the freezer; this can be less expensive, and then you always have it on hand for smoothies! (Bananas that have started to turn brown are great frozen in a smoothie.) All you need is a blender and a tasty liquid like milk, soy milk, or coconut water and you’re on your way!
- Have fruit after dinner before you have any other dessert. You may find that certain fruits satisfy your craving for something sweet!
- Don’t forget about dried fruits like raisins. They never go bad! Other fruits that last a long time without spoiling include apples. Grab one on your way out the door, and you have a satisfying snack that’s ready to eat!
Start with these simple tips, and over time add more vegetables and fruits to your daily routine. You’ll find things that work for you. Many people say once they “clean up their diet” by adding more produce (and eliminating many processed foods), they feel better, think more clearly, have better skin, and feel more hydrated. You deserve to feel that way, too!
This article is part of the Branford Hall weekly blog. We offer an array of professional training programs at ten campuses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Reach out to us for more information today!