The more you learn about health and longevity the more you’re convinced you’re going to have to eat more fruits and veggies. Between five to nine servings a day… and not just potatoes, carrots and corn!
Even if you can’t stand vegetables, one or two of these tips will still work for you. Read on to learn how you can feed your body the healthy stuff you know you need, without grossing yourself out.
How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables.
The more you study nutrition, the more you realize there’s just no getting away from plant based eating if you want to have superior health. And for some people, let’s face it, that sucks.
According to the CDC (centers for disease control) just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations. By the way, their recommendation is 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables.
And according to the CDC, “Seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.”
Vegetables provide fiber, healthy fats, protein, quality carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients to your diet that help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. They are also a vital source of potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid and essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and more.
Maybe you know all of this, but your issue is how veggies taste. We get it some vegetables are more bitter than others and aren’t the most pleasant thing to eat. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you still need to “eat your veggies,” even if you hate your veggies.
5 Ways to Easily Increase Your Fruit and Vegetable Intake.
1) Make a Green Smoothie
We did a recent episode on the top two super foods, in episode 105, which are mixed berries, and green leafy vegetables. You can easily consume a decent amount of both of these in a green smoothie.
Also see our green smoothie podcast episode and article in episode 10.
We have a whole podcast on the subject, episode 10, so check that out, or just google green smoothie recipes, there are plenty. Just make sure you are getting lots of greens and berries as the base of whatever recipe you choose.
Listen to the Podcast here.
2)Try a New Veggie
You might be thinking you’ve tried ALL of the vegetables you can possibly get from the market but that is most likely not true. Maybe it has been years since you’ve tried a certain veggie but since human’s taste buds are constantly changing you might like the veggie this time around. Browse the list of veggies below and if you have never tried it or haven’t had it within the last five years, give it a shot!
Michelle Lockhart did an outstanding job on one of our most listened to podcasts, episode 32 titled “On Phytonutrients and Eating Rainbows.” Check that out.
One of the things she has found with her clients is that when somebody says “I don’t like vegetables,” sometimes what they mean is they tried a veggie when they were five, didn’t like it, and have never tried it again. So, maybe you just need to revisit veggies you “think” you don’t like but you really haven’t given them a chance since you grew up!
Some people don’t eat veggies because of the taste. If you don’t like bitter flavors, check out
- Cherry tomatoes
- Butternut or other winter squashes
- Red pepper
- CarrotsBeets (which sweeten when roasted)
- Orange or purple sweet potatoes
Unique Veggie Options you may not have tried:
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Swiss Chard
- Japanese eggplant
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3) Experiment with new ways of seasoning and your veggies.
There is a reason seasoning exists, it’s to make food taste better! There is a variety of ways to season your vegetables to make them taste terrific. Follow the 3 easy steps below and experiment with different flavors until you find your favorite.
When’s the last time you looked up a recipe on Youtube? There are so many great recipes, even by celebrity chefs, that it would be really surprising if you can’t find a vegetable dish you really enjoy that you have never even tried before.
4) Try new methods of cooking your veggies.
Don’t pay attention to people that claim all vegetables should be “cold pressed” or “eaten raw” to “preserve their essential properties.” It is a difficult task comparing the healthiness of raw and cooked veggies because although a raw veggie might have 10% more vitamins and nutrients than a cooked veggie, but a veggie you don’t consume at all has 0% of the nutrients you need.
There are many ways to prepare your vegetables that provide different flavors and textures. Roasted vegetables are amazing!
- Roast: Preheat your oven to 425°F. Cut your veggies into small pieces or use veggies that don’t need to be chopped such as broccoli and cauliflower. Arrange the veggies in a single layer on a backing and drizzle with coconut oil or olive oil. Bake for 30-45 minutes and turn the veggies once or twice so they cook evenly.
- Grill: Start your grill and keep at medium heat. Cut vegetables in large pieces so they do not fall through. Lightly coat veggies with coconut oil or light olive oil then grill anywhere from 4-15 minutes depending on the veggie and the desired tenderness.
- Sauté: Wash and cut your veggies and put them on a skillet with olive oil or coconut oil. Set stovetop to medium-high heat and continuously stir the veggies for about 5 minutes until they are at your desired tenderness.
- Steam: Add about one inch of water into a pan with a steamer basket filled with cut veggies. Cover the pan with a lid and set on medium-high heat for 2 to 15 minutes, depending on the size and type of vegetables. When a fork can be inserted into the veggie it is done.
5)Take a Daily Multivitamin
The main idea behind eating more fruits and veggies is to get the natural vitamins, minerals, and other phyto-nutrients our bodies need. But to be sure you are getting everything you need, there’s nothing like the simplicity of a good multivitamin to help supplement your diet. Supplements can help you increase your vitamin intake of vitamins you are likely deficient in such as:
- Chromium: Our body can’t store this trace element, and not all vegetables have it. Taking it in a supplement ensures we always have it. Helps with weight management, blood sugar levals, and lowers cholesterol.
- Vitamin D3: We must have vitamin D to properly absorb calcium, and Vitamin D works closely with Vitamins K1 and K2 for optimal skeletal and dental health.
- Vitamin K1: The most important role of vitamin K1 is in helping our blood clot. It can also help decrease inflammation and may aid in blood sugar control.
- Vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 is one of the most important nutrients for healthy bones long-term—even more than calcium! K2 is also important for heart and brain health and can even help with athletic performance.
- Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): Folic acid is widely regarded as an essential vitamin that aids in several key areas of health, including treating low levels of folate in the blood, helping the bowel to absorb nutrients, and ward off memory loss and other mental challenges of aging people.
- Vitamin B12: The B vitamins are important for many things in the body, and vitamin B12 benefits our energy levels, memory, mood, digestion, heart, adrenal health, and hormone balance.
- Iron: Iron is important for transporting oxygen in the blood and blood production, so not getting enough can have big consequences over time. Too much iron can be toxic, so careful dosage in a supplement is important.
- Zinc: As a trace mineral we only need a small amount of zinc, but it’s essential for our health. It helps with growth, repair, and balancing of hormones, supports immunity, fights free radical damage, and helps with muscle growth and repair.
Remember, vitamin and mineral supplements do not replace a healthy diet and you still need to consume vegetables the old-fashioned way, but a multivitamin will fill in those deficiencies that even the best eaters usually still have.
It is important for your health to increase your intake of vegetables especially if you are a person who hates them. Try a combination of these 5 tips to increase your daily vegetable intake and be on your way to healthier you. The biggest benefit is how proud your mother will be when you can confirm, “I eat my veggies!”