5 Tips for Increasing Daily Fruits & Vegetables

1.  Power Pack your Breakfast

Plan to have at least one serving of vegetables each morning.  Throw spinach, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, onions or tomatoes (or all of the above) into your omelets.  It's delicious! Well, except those mushroom things, blech! ;)   Try sneaking kale, spinach, carrots, fennel or cucumber into your smoothie for a quick veg option.  Fruits are super easy to add to oatmeal, yogurt, whole-grain cereal, Cream of Wheat or my favorite pre-workout breakfast, wheat toast with natural peanut butter and banana slices on top.  mmm....  Just be careful to avoid the canned varieties of fruit.  They are often packed in heavy syrups and the calories/sugars add up fast.  Whole fruit is the ideal, but frozen is a good option, too.

2.  Make it Convenient

These days if it's not easy... or at least simple and quick...it just doesn't happen.  Hence, the popularity of the candy machines!  Set yourself up for success by planning ahead.  Pack snack bags of cut up carrots, celery, broccoli, sweet peppers (my favorite!), sugar snap peas, whatever you like, to work, school, the car, etc.  Packing your own is the ideal "budget" way of doing this but if your budget allows, there are so many options these days for "to go" prepped veggies and fruits.  

3.  Be Sneaky

Whether to help your kids get more of these nutrient packed foods or to fool yourself into consuming more, being a little sneaky is worth it.  And kinda fun, too.  You get to feel deviant without the guilt. ;)  At my house, I like to slice or shred zucchini into our soups or sauces.  It's a great way to use up all that produce that people have an overabundance of this time of year.  I've heard some people even add unseasoned pumpkin puree to their pizza sauces.  Haven't tried it yet, but it's on the list!

4.  Get Creative

Instead of using a basic broth base for vegetable or vegetable beef soups, use V8 juice!  You'll pack a lot of nutrients and flavor without adding a lot of unnecessary fat and calories.  Having pasta?  Throw broccoli or cauliflower florets in with your noodles and you not only ramp up the nutrition, but you now only have one pot to clean.  Bonus!

5.  Embrace It  

This may be the most important tip!  Having a good attitude about increasing your vegetables can make all the difference.  We've talked about how positive self-talk can help us to get the exercise done and that same principle can apply here as well.  What you tell yourself becomes your reality.  Doing anything begrudgingly won't set you up for long-term success.  If you sincerely tell yourself that you "want" to increase our veggies and that you ARE going to get those vegetables in everyday then you WILL make the effort required to accomplish the task!

What are some your tips have been helpful as you've transitioned to more fruits and vegetables in your day?

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October 18 2016

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