Everyone knows that getting your fill of fruits and vegetables is important (it’s basically the first thing in life we learn about food). But sometimes even after a chia pudding breakfast, quinoa bowl lunch, and gluten-free pasta dinner you realize, “Wait—did I eat a single fruit or vegetable today?”
You’re not alone. Intuitive eating coach Alissa Rumsey MS, RD says many Americans don’t hit the recommended five servings a day—but the good news is it doesn’t require a total diet overhaul to remedy the situation.
“A lot of people aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables,” Rumsey says. “It’s not enough to know fruits and vegetables are healthy—which most people do. In fact, this feeling that we ‘should’ eat vegetables often means that we dread eating them and contributes to not wanting to have them more often.” #Mood.
“Make the decision to eat fruits and vegetables from a place of self care.”
So how do you get over the “should” hurdle? Rumsey advises her clients to take a step back from that restrictive mindset. “Once you do this, and are allowing yourself to eat whatever you want, you can then make the decision to eat fruits and vegetables from a place of self care.”
From there, it’s all about finding ways you like to eat the fresh stuff. “Often people who dislike veggies are used to eating them raw, boiled, or plain. No wonder they don’t like them!” Rumsey says. “Veggies don’t have to be plain to get the nutrients. Experiment with different ways of cooking them.”
According to Rumsey, once you land on how you like to cook them (or drink them, in the case of Naked® produce-loaded smoothies), eating fruits and vegetables daily will start to feel like an act of self care you look forward to as much as your weekly face mask.
Ready to start brainstorming? Keep reading for Rumsey’s favorite ways to add fruits and veggies to every meal.
Breakfast is usually an easy one for fruit (hey, almond butter + banana toast and strawberry-kale smoothie), but noshing on vegetables doesn’t have to be reserved for p.m. meals. Green up your first meal of the day by adding spinach, arugula, or broccoli to scrambled eggs, or go the savory route with your usual berry-topped oatmeal. Rumsey’s favorite savory oatmeal recipe adds sauteed zucchini, cheese, and fresh black pepper to creamy oats.
Health-ify your old-school sandwich by adding thinly sliced vegetables or fruit. Not only will it make it feel like a fancy, cafe-style lunch, it will help to add on to your daily total of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that come with the garden-fresh stuff, according to Rumsey.
Start with crusty whole-grain bread, add a protein (like hummus or grilled chicken), then pile on the fruit or veg, with a spritz of citrus fruit for brightness. Consider investing in a mandolin to slice up cucumbers, carrots, beets, and tomatoes—and don’t forget your favorite green fruit (avocado, obvi).
Drinking some of your fruits and veggies might be the most fun (and tastebud-happy) way to get them in. Even better when you can skip the blender and grab a fruit-and-veggie-packed smoothie on-the-go to boost your intake.
Case in point: Naked’s Green Machine is made with apples, mango, kiwi, pineapple, and banana, plus a veggie assist from broccoli, spinach, kale, and more. A burst of fruits and vegetables, sorted in a few sips.
Plain olive oil is great and all, but if you use vegetables (or fruit, for a sweeter take) as a salad dressing add-in, you’ll score extra goodness from your usual superfood salad.
Some of Rumsey’s favorites are green goddess (herbs, scallions, lemon juice, buttermilk, greek yogurt), sun dried tomato (tomato, sun dried tomato, olive oil, honey, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper), or pureed vegetable dressing (beets, carrots, artichoke hearts, olive oil—all pulsed in a food processor). Hungry yet?
In partnership with Naked®
Top photo: Stocksy/Aaron Thomas
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