Established by the USDA’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, Americans should be consuming at least two and a half cups of veggies and two cups of fruits on a daily basis, approximating to a general guide of “5-a-day.” But according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in 10 Americans are eating enough fruits and veggies each day. The parameters are not merely based on some oddball number, but set to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Ensure you meet the 5-a-day recommendation with these 10 ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake!
10 Ways to Increase Daily Vegetable and Fruit Intake
1. Colorfy Your Morning
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! (Or so they say…) Include at least one colorful fruit or vegetable at breakfast, as doing so can start the day out on the right foot and encourage healthier choices as the day goes on. Colorfy your morning by adding blueberries to yogurt, dipping bananas in peanut butter, and throwing in bell peppers to eggs.
2. Plate Wisely
Did you know at least half of your meal plate should consist of veggies and fruits? Try to plate more wisely; but if coloring half the plate is too extreme on a regular basis, include at least one veggie and fruit at each meal.
3. Buy Them
Increasing your daily vegetable and fruit intake would be quite difficult if they were nowhere to be found… Make it a point to purchase them during your grocery store runs and have fun exploring all of the available varieties!
4. Have It Prepared
Ever resorted to a bag of chips during a pesky snack craving or a frozen pizza after a long workday? You are not alone. The common denominator of choosing such products mostly relates to their convenience factor, as they offer quick access with little time and preparation required. But to ease the intake of fruits and veggies, have them cut, prepared, and ready to go!
5. Jazz Up Your Salad
Salads are an excellent way to increase daily vegetable and fruit intake, though they can be so much more than leafy greens! Jazz up your salad with broccoli, artichokes, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocadoes, cauliflower, snap peas, blueberries, apples, mandarins, zucchini, and so much more!
6. Sneak Em In
From smoothies to casseroles, there are so many ways to sneak in veggies. Throwing in kale, spinach, and other greens offers not only rich nutrients, but bulk without adding a substantial calorie load. Also add veggies into into sauces, soups, and eggs.
7. Dipping Duos
For a creative way to increase fruit and veggie intake, have fun with dips! Nutritious and delicious dipping duos include carrot sticks and red pepper hummus, apple slices and peanut butter, and cucumber slices and Greek yogurt ranch.
8. Try Different Cooking Techniques
Along with trying new fruits and veggies, try out new cooking and preparation techniques. For instance, if noshing on broccoli stalks is not so appealing, try roasting them. Additional cooking methods include steaming, grilling, sautéing, stir-frying, and boiling.
9. Stick with It
While it may feel overwhelming to consume the recommended 5-a-day fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, stick with it as much as possible. The more you do it, the easier it will become! And as they say, it takes at least 21 days to form a habit…
10. Let Balance do the Cooking
Want to increase fruit and veggie intake without the stress of grocery shopping and meal prepping during a busy week? Let Balance by bistroMD do the cooking! Balance prepares whole, well-balanced meals with a variety of healthy fruits and veggies including green beans, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach. And not to mention, all these nutritious and delicious meals are delivered directly to your doorstep! Find more about Balance by bistroMD’s a la cart meal delivery service here.