If the thought of eating fruits and vegetables gives you a sour face, you are in the majority. According to a recent poll by the CDC, 90% of Americans are not getting the recommended servings from fruits and vegetables in their diets. Coincidentally, almost 40% of Americans are also obese. If you take a look around, these statistics may not come as a big surprise. With convenient and cheap, hyper-palatable, fat and sugar filled foods lurking around every corner, it’s hard to stay on the straight and narrow path to eating healthy. Convenience, taste, cost, and access are just a few reasons why fruits and vegetables are not regularly consumed by the majority of Americans. While some of these issues are a bigger problem than others, there are still some things we can do to help ensure we meet the recommended 2-3 cup servings of vegetables and 1-2 cup servings of fruits a day.
1.) Learn what counts as a cup:
It may surprise you just how little the serving sizes might actually be. For example, a 2 cup serving of fruits could be 1 small apple and 1 cup of 100% fruit juice. This isn’t an unrealistic amount to consume in a day’s time.
2.) Sneak them into your favorite foods:
Just like you may have done for your kids, you can use this trick on yourself also. Puréeing foods, or dicing them up into small pieces and throwing them into your favorite dishes, is a great trick to get in those recommended servings and not even taste that they are there. For example, throw some chopped carrots into a meatloaf or spiral some zucchinis into noodles to add into your spaghetti.
3.) Try frozen or canned varieties if you can’t access fresh:
Frozen and canned vegetables are still vegetables and contain valuable nutrients too. While they may not taste the same as fresh, if you are going to be cooking them, they can still have lots of flavor. However, be sure if choosing canned varieties that you choose low sodium, no added sugar varieties, and fruits that are canned in their own juices.
It’s better to get fruits and vegetables into your diet in any way possible than not at all. Use these tips and tricks to ensure you are getting in the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day!