Happy National Fruit and Vegetable Month!!!
One of things I love almost as much as fruits and veggies is making lists.
Since there are 30 days in June here are 30 tips/tricks/facts regarding fruits and vegetables
1) Swap spaghetti squash in place of pasta
2) Frozen fruit can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator or quickly in cold water in a colander.
3) Frozen vegetables can be treated quite similar to its “fresh” counterpart in terms of preparation
4) Soft veggies like eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, and mushrooms are easy to incorporate into sauces, pasta dishes and casseroles – which is ideal for picky eaters
5) To make “mini pizzas” use portobello mushrooms as a “crust” top is sauce, cheese, and toppings
6) Add tomatoes, avocado slices, and spinach to sandwiches
7) Speaking of avocados- they are are great substitute for mayo!
8) Fruits and vegetables aren’t just good for you – but they also add color, and appeal to your plate/meal
9) Blending fruits and veggies with a bit of ice, and/or protein powder and making a smoothie is another great way for picky eaters to incorporate servings of veggies and fruit (just don’t ruin it by using juices, and/or sugar)
10) Fruits and vegetables are good for you whether they are fresh or frozen. If you purchase them canned – try to find varieties that are packed in water – and drain and rinse them before consuming
11) Use Boston/Butter/Bibb lettuce in place of bread or tortillas you can fill them with your favorite wrap/sandwich/taco/fajita fixings!
12) Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber – which plays a big role in heart health, digestive health, glycemic control, as well as weight management.
13) In fact one serving of most fruits and vegetables is considered to be a “good source” of fiber (3 g), i.e 1 cup of raspberries is equivalent to 1 serving, and has 3.3 g of fiber.
14) Eat your skins and seeds. Typically fruits with seeds and skins (berries, apples, etc) are the ones that will have a bit more fiber – but make sure you eat the skin of the apple, or you’re missing out on some great fiber
15) Eat a rainbow of colors. LITERALLY. The variety of colors of fruits and vegetable indicate a variety of vitamins and minerals. Beautiful orange carrots and sweet potatoes will provide you with Vitamin A, while green leafy vegetables will provide iron, folic acid, and calcium. The more colors you eat in day – the more variety you are getting- and yes- white counts too (cauliflower, mushrooms, etc)
16) 89% of adults and children do not get the recommended amount of fruit and vegetable servings each day. That’s a pretty big number……
17) Did you know that June 17th is “National Eat all of your Vegetables Day” So if you didn’t – there is no time like the present to celebrate.
18) Wash and portion out your fruits and veggies in advance. This is a great time saver and reduces waste. If your grapes are already in a tupperware container or bag – you’re much more likely to grab them on your way out the door.
19) Adults require about 2 1/2 – 3 cups of vegetables per day, and about 2 cups/servings of fruit per day. Hence the campaign “Five A Day”. It’s not that hard to do if you make it a priority to get those veggies on your plate.
20) Adding fruit into your day at snacks with some protein can be both nutritious and delicious. One of my favorites – apple slices with 2 Tbsp of almond butter (yum yum yum)
21) Season your vegetables (sans salt) to make them more flavorful and appealing – I personally like spicing up my veggies with ancho chili powder or curry powder. But I also like using dill on my potatoes, cinnamon and allspice for sweet potatoes, and good old garlic or onion powder (or minced garlic)
22) If the concept of snacking on veggies is a new habit for you try incorporating crunch veggies like carrots, celery and peppers – if need be use 1-2 tbsp of ranch or hummus or even peanut butter for dipping. But if you’re “dipping” portion out your dip!
23) Warm up to frozen fruits and veggies. Stocking your freezer full of these can promote lots of variety, and they are easily prepared. Buying frozen fruit when that fruit is not in season is also a money saver.
24) Take leftover vegetables, and toss them with 1 cup of whole grain pasta, and some balsamic vinegar for a quick and easy pasta salad.
25) Look at cooking magazines, and/or online for recipes for new ways to prepare vegetables – sometimes half the battle of eating more fruits and vegetables is finding new ways to prepare them.
26) Try fruit as a dessert – try grilling some pineapple or peaches or roasting a grapefruit- top with a 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt, some mint and a tsp of honey
27) To save some $$ try to buy in season – for instance berries are in season typically from June – August, their prices go down during that time, and their flavors also tend to be better. During winter months it may be more cost effective to buy frozen.
28) There is a difference between starchy and non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables are: winter squashes (acorn, butternut, spaghetti), cooked carrots, caramelized onions, potatoes, peas, and corn. Non-starchy veggies are anything besides starchy veggies.
29) Add a handful of veggies into some eggs/egg whites in the morning
30) Make it a goal to fill half of your plate/meal with veggies
So there you have it – 30 tips about fruits and vegetables. Here is the bottom line – these guys are really wholesome ways to fill out your meals and snacks, if you have concerns with carbohydrates/blood sugars – remember that fruits and starchy vegetables do count as carbohydrates. But for your average healthy individual – have fruits and/or veggies at your meals – is a great way to add vitamins, minerals, fiber – and healthy carbs.
Additionally fruits and vegetables are naturally vegan, and gluten free, and can easily fit into most dietary restrictions (heart health, diabetes, kidney health etc) maybe with some help from an RD, and fruits and vegetables are an important cornerstone for clean eating! As if I haven’t given you enough reasons already to incorporate more – there is PLENTY of evidence that links adequate intakes of fruits and vegetables to better health outcomes in general (but also in regards to heart health, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, neurological health etc).
Fruits and vegetables are the superheroes of our diet.