Ring in the New Year with More Fruits and Veggies: Part II

starkrimson pearHere it is, as promised.  The “whys” and “hows” of adding more fruits and veggies to your diet.

Do you know that’s it’s REALLY pretty EASY to consume the optimal number of fruits and veggies when you put a TEENSY bit of effort in to it? Do you know how many fruits and veggies you should be consuming each day?  Would you like to try a yummy, super easy fruit laced dessert tonight?  {Hint: It’s made with oranges.}  If so, then read on…

How many fruits and veggies should I aim for each day?

Aim for a MINIMUM of 5 or more servings each day.  If you can get in 9 servings a day, more power to you!  I probably average around 7 servings a day and I’m pretty happy with that.

What is one serving of fruit?  What is one serving of veggies?

  • Fruit: 1/2 cup of fruit OR 1 medium piece of fruit (~size of a tennis ball) OR 1/4 cup dried fruit OR 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of 100% fruit juice.
  • Veggies: 1/2 cup cooked or raw veggies OR 1 cup of leafy veggies (~4 lettuce leaves) OR 3/4 cup 100% veggie juice.

See!  That’s not much for one serving, is it?  I bet if I told you to eat 1 1/2 cups of ice cream (equivalent to ~5 servings fruits or veggies) you could easily do it.  So, NO excuses please!

What are the benefits of eating more fruits and veggies?

  • Rich in antioxidants/phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals which may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers.
  • High is fiber to help fill you up and keep your digestive system running smoothly.
  • Low in calories to help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Just makes you feel really good!

What are some easy ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet?

  • Make a smoothie and easily get 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies.  (Try my Pineapple Berry Smoothie-see recipe below!)
  • Add any assortment of sauteed or fresh veggies to scrambled eggs/omlettes/fritattas.  Some combos to try: onion/spinach, tomato/garlic/mushroom, bell peppers/artichoke hearts…
  • Make a salad.  Serve a side salad with lunch or dinner or make an entree salad for your meal and easily get anywhere from 2-6 servings of fruits and veggies.  Try a  different assortment of fruits and veggies everyday: Assorted lettuces, spinach, grated carrots, tomatoes, chopped onions, red or green cabbage, bell peppers, mushrooms, caulifllower or broccoli florettes, microgreens, avocado, cirtus fruit, berries, apples, pears, dried fruits…
  • Soup!  Add veggies to any of your favorite soups or try pureed fruit and veggie soups such as my Parsnip and Apple soup.  Yum!
  • Make a fruit juice sparkler.  Combine 1/2 cup 100% fruit juice and 1/2 cup sparkling water.  This makes a great alternative to sodas.
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cooked corn, corn on the cob…they all count in my book as (starchy) veggies.  French fries, potato chips, tortilla chips…hmm…they don’t count in this category.
  • Pizza!  Make a mixed veggie pizza or a veggie and meat pizza.  1/2 cup serving pizza sauce counts as a serving too!
  • Make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and throw in some dark chocolate chips for good measure!
  • Add lots of veggies to any sandwich.  Grated carrots…microgreens…avocado….lettuce/leafy greens…onions…sliced tomatoes…Try my simple, yummy veggie sandwich.
  • Or, keep it simple…is there anything better than munching on a fresh apple, a succulent peach, or a juicy tomato, fresh from the garden???

A quick smoothie inspiration…

Pineapple Berry Smoothie:

In a blender, combine 3/4 cup organic vanilla soy milk, 1/2 cup each frozen pineapple, frozen organic blueberries, and frozen organic raspberries.  Blend until smooth, adding additional soy milk if needed.  Add 1 Tablespoon ground flaxmeal if desired.  Enjoy!

And for a easy, luscious, fruit enhanced dessert try this…

Vanilla Ice Cream with Cinnamon and Cara Cara Oranges

  • Good quality vanilla ice cream (I used Haagen-Daz Five Vanilla Bean)
  • Cara Cara (or other) oranges (You MUST try Cara Cara oranges if you have never had them before!)
  • Fresh cinnamon
  • Grand Mariner, optional

For each serving, place 1 scoop (~ 1/2 cup)of vanilla ice cream in bowl and top with cinnamon.  Add cut up fresh oranges (~1/2 cup) on top and sprinkle with more cinnamon.  This tastes great on its own, but for an even more decadent dessert, top with approximately 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier.  Enjoy!


So…Are you ready to commit to adding more fruits and veggies to your diet in 2011???

I hope so!

For additional inspiration check out these great resources:

  • Fruits and Veggies More Matters-This is a great website with recipes, advice for getting kids to eat more veggies, and you can take the “Fruits and Veggies…Today and Every Day” Pledge.
  • Eat Well Guide/Sustainable Table-Use this guide to locate farmer’s markets, CSA’s (Community Sponsored Agriculture), and to find out what produce is in season in your area.
  • Produce for Kids-Some great resources for getting your kids to eat more fruits and veggies.
  • MUNCH-5-A-DAY-a fun iPhone app for keeping track of your daily fruit and veggie intake.

Cheers to your good health in 2011!

How are you doing with your fruit and veggie intake so far this year?  Are you inspired to consume 5 or MORE fruit and veggies servings per day?  What are your favorite ways of getting fruits and veggies in to your diet?

I would LOVE to hear from you!  Please click here to leave a comment, ask a nutrition question, or leave a suggestion for The Spicy RD.  Or, if you enjoyed the post, please share it below!



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  1. RIng in the new year with more fruits and veggies: Part II | EA Stewart, RD-Providing personalized nutrition therapy to promote lifelong good health. I liked your article.Awesome Topic.

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