Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

This post is the 3rd in a series of 10 called “10 Simple Steps to Make Good Habits More Delicious” courtesy of the Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness nutrition group.

Hopefully, by now, you have seen USDA’s MyPlate.  This replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2010.  This plate is a great visual on meal planning and eating healthy.  Today, I will highlight one half of this plate.  The half we tend to fall short on.  The USDA recommends that we fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables.  How come we struggle with eating enough fruits & veggies?  Probably because they sometimes are expensive, take time to prepare, or aren’t our favorite dishes.

There is still time to add fruits and veggies to your plate!  These are great additions to your meals since they are low in calories, sodium, and fat.  They have many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.  Below are some way you can add fruits and veggies to your plate:

  • Start Early: Grab some fruit for breakfast!  You can eat them whole & fresh, or add them into your yogurt or cereal!
  • Take the Easy Route: Many fruits and vegetables are available precut and prewashed.  Buy these packages and follow the directions on the package for quick preparation!
  • Keep them in Sight: Research has shown that when we see food, we will eat it.  (unless you have ridiculous self control).   Therefore, put a bowl of fruit out on the counter for an easily accessible snack.  Keep fresh veggies on the shelf at eye level in the fridge so that you see them first.
  • Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies: No one can argue that fruits and veggies aren’t colorful.  Each group of colors (orange, red, white, green, etc) have their own unique set of nutrients.  So, it is important to get a variety of color to reap the benefits of all these nutrients.  Try carrots, red onion, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, etc.
  • Eat in All Forms: Vary the forms of fruits and vegetables you buy.  You can get fruits fresh, canned, frozen, dried, or in juice.  You can get veggies fresh, canned, frozen, and juiced too!
  • Try them Fresh: Fruits and vegetables are naturally crunchy and juicy!  They are great for low calorie snacks alone or with a low calorie dip.
  • Make Every Meal Count: Add at least 1 fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack and you will be in great shape!

As Always, Trust Your Gut!

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