June 4, 2013
Do you have the best of intentions, but ultimately struggle to get the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day? Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, very few people get anywhere near the recommended amount.
Start your pursuit to increase your produce intake by gauging where you currently stand. Are you eating one serving per day or four? From there, set a realistic goal, like increasing your intake by one or two servings per day. Next, plan the goal of produce intake into your day. Once you reach your goal and maintain it for several weeks, consider setting a new goal, until eventually you achieve the recommended amounts per day for optimal health.
Here are 10 tips to help make it easier to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your family’s meals and snacks:
- Wash and cut fresh vegetables after purchasing them. This makes it easier to grab-and-go during the week and reduce the risk they’ll be forgotten and go bad.
- Store fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and veggies in easy-to-see places in the refrigerator, pantry, shelves and countertops.
- Ditch the candy jar! Instead, keep a bowl of washed apples, oranges, bananas and other ready-to-eat fruits on the table.
- Have a sweet tooth? Try eating fruit with yogurt for dessert.
- Include a veggie tray with dip for a healthy before-dinner snack.
- Make a habit of including a side salad with a mix of leafy greens with dinner.
- Add veggies like spinach, tomatoes, peppers and avocado to sandwiches
- Add veggies to your pizza.
- Make fruit smoothies for breakfast and snacks.
- Incorporate at least one serving of veggies and/or fruits into all snacks and meals throughout the day.
By Natalie Digate Muth
Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, FAAPNatalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, FAAP is the Healthcare Solutions Director for the American Council on Exercise, a board-certified pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a Diplomat of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, and ACE-certified health coach. She is the author of "Eat Your Vegetables" and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters" and the upcoming textbook "Sports Nutrition for Health Professionals". She has been ACE certified since 1998.