As a dietitian, I often recommend people increase their fruit and veggie intake. The goal is to get 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day. A serving size for produce is a fist – one medium apple, 1 cup of berries, 1 cup raw veggies, 1/2 cup cooked veggies, etc.
Here are my practical tips to increase your fruit and veggie intake.
Smoothies are a great way to get in fruits and veggies. You can buy frozen fruit and veggies and keep them stocked in your freezer; mix and match to get a variety of colors in your diet. Of course, fresh fruits and veggies work well too.
I start every morning with a smoothie! I include a couple kinds of berries or other fruit, Greek yogurt (for protein), and milk or water. You can also add a healthy fat such as nut butter, olive oil, or avocado. And you can also had a whole grain such as oatmeal for a complete smoothie meal.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so it’s important to eat a well-balance breakfast. For me, it is easier to eat fruit in the morning but there are definitely ways to get some veggies in the morning.
- Have some veggies washed and diced so it is quick and easy to throw them into an omelet. My favorite combo is spinach and asparagus in scrambled eggs with a little cheese. Also: Goat Cheese Scrambled Eggs with Pesto Veggies
- Add shredded veggies to baked goods such as Zucchini Carrot Apple Muffins or Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Cups.
- Whip up a quick and easy breakfast skillet such as this Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet.
Snacking is a great way to sneak in some added nutrients throughout the day and to maintain your energy level. Try to include a fruit or vegetable with each snack. Pair your favorites with a protein source or healthy fat to increase satiety and overall nutritional value.
- Veggies with hummus
- Apple and string cheese
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Veggies and guacamole
Lunch is a good time to load up on veggies. Try a salad packed with spinach or other dark leafy greens, lots of mixed veggies, and even some fruit! Don’t forget a protein source and a healthy fat to help fill you up.
- Avocado and Grilled Chicken Chopped Salad
- Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Vinaigrette
- Spinach Salad with Pear, Pomegranate, and Goat Cheese
- Cook a big batch of veggies on Sunday to eat throughout the week such as these Easy Roasted Vegetables.
- Make a quick and easy one dish skillet recipe with your choice of veggies: Easy Skillet Recipe and Easy Sweet Potato Skillet.
- Use squash or other veggies as a pasta substitute. Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Spinach and Pesto or Butternut Squash Bowtie Pasta or Baked Acorn Squash with Garlic & Parmesan Cheese
- Try fruit for dessert:
So here’s what a sample day with 5+ fruits and veggies might look like:
- Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with whole wheat peanut butter toast (1-2 fruit servings)
- Snack: Apple and string cheese (1 fruit serving)
- Lunch: Big salad with lots of leafy greens and veggies, grilled chicken, goat cheese, vinaigrette dressing and a small handful of sunflower seeds (1-2 veggie servings)
- Snack: Raw carrots and hummus (1 veggie serving)
- Dinner: Grilled chicken, quinoa, 1 cup cooked veggies (2 veggie servings)
- Dessert: Frozen yogurt with 1/2 cup mixed berries (1/2 fruit serving)
- Total: 6.5+ servings of fruit and veggies!
What other tips do you have to add?
Do you prefer to eat veggies raw or cooked?