“Eat your fruits and veggies!” Remember the days when you weren’t allowed to get up from the dinner table until you ate your peas? Well, guess what? Your parents were right. Fruits and vegetables are essential to a nutrient-rich, healthy diet. Feel your best and give your body the energy (and antioxidants!) it needs by adding leafy greens and naturally sweet nectars to your daily food intake.
Here are some easy ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into your life:
Variety is key.
Buy a new fruit or vegetable every time you go to the grocery store. Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods. Sure, carrots are full of vitamins, but if you ate nothing but carrots, you wouldn’t be that healthy, and you’d probably turn orange. Don’t be afraid to try something new—If a honeydew melon is calling your name, throw it in your grocery cart.
The more, the merrier.
Add chopped squash, mushrooms, onions, or carrots to jarred or fresh spaghetti sauce and serve on pasta for a great dinner. Throw handfuls of spinach into stews and soups, add chopped scallions, shredded lettuce, or cabbage to potato salad, or throw some broccoli, tomatoes, or zucchini into scrambled eggs or omelets.
You say tomato…
Regardless of how you pronounce them, tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants and studies have shown they promote bone health. Whether you prefer heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes, feel free to eat your weight in “love apples.” Eat them raw in salads, sandwiches, salsa, or juice, on their own (like a piece of fruit), or cooked in sauces. Cooking actually enhances a tomato’s nutritional value.
Food > Juice.
Eat whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice. Whole fruit reduces calories, adds fiber, and increases that feeling of fullness. While dried fruit has just as much fiber as fresh fruit, the calories per serving are much higher (dried fruit can also make you gassy).
Carry healthy snacks.
Snack on organic baby carrots and celery (keep a cooler of them in the car if you’re running errands all day). Freeze grapes and berries in single-serving containers for a cool treat during summer months.
Tip: Consider buying organic. There’s a real concern that chemicals used in growing food may cause health problems, including an increase in breast cancer risk. To reduce your exposure to pesticides, try buying organically grown food.
Learn more about which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic through the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.