Everyone knows eating a healthy diet means consuming seven to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. For many, trying to accomplish this is a daunting task but with a little creativity and a bit of planning you can easily obtain the USDA's recommended daily allowance.
The following tips can help you easily and effortlessly integrate more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine. Incorporating these tips will provide you with more energy, radiant skin, healthy bones and help you shed those extra pounds.
Fruits ~ Recommended Daily Allowance: 4 to 5 servings per day
Serving size equals: 4 ounces 100% fruit juice, 1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit.
- One way to easily consume more fruit is to keep a bowl of whole fresh fruit within eyesight. Purchase an inexpensive, yet pleasing-to-look-at fruit bowl and place it on the center of the dining room table, countertop or at eye-level on your refrigerator shelf.
- Place chunks of fresh fruit on wooden skewers and make delicious and fun-to-eat fruit kabobs. Use banana slices, pineapple or mango chunks, grapes, apple slices and berries. Wrap in plastic wrap to preserve freshness. Fruit kabobs are a big hit with both kids and adults and perfect for lunch boxes and afternoon snacks.
- Make homemade fruit salad using watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, berries, banana slices, pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, raisins, figs or any of your favorites fruits.
- For dessert, try baked apples, peaches or pears drizzled with honey.
- When baking, substitute applesauce for half of the oil.
Vegetables ~ Recommended Daily Allowance: 3 to 5 servings per day
Serving size equals: 4 ounces low-sodium vegetable juice, 1 cup raw leafy green vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 1 small potato, 1 sweet potato.
Vegetables are organized into five sub-categories: dark green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, dry beans and peas, and "other" vegetables.
- Keep a tray of cut vegetables in a clear container placed in the refrigerator for easy snacking. Baby carrots, carrot sticks, celery sticks, sliced cucumbers and zucchini, and radishes make for quick and convenient healthy snacks.
- Shred carrots or zucchini into meat loaf, casseroles or bread and muffin mixes.
- Garnish plates and serving dishes with brightly colored vegetables such as slices of red, green or yellow peppers, carrot sticks and radish slices.
- Add chopped veggies to pasta sauces, casseroles and lasagna.
- Instead of potato or tortilla chips, dip fresh veggies in salsa for a tasty treat.
- Create a luscious salad consisting of dark leafy greens, sliced red onions, radishes, carrots slices and beets. Use salsa instead of salad dressing.