Happy National Nutrition Month! Each day this week, we will focus on one healthy habit to work on. We are taking small steps to big results!
Today, we are discussing a healthy habit, which is . . . eating more fruits and veggies! We know that fruits and vegetables are important. I'm sure you've been told to eat more fruits or vegetables in your lifetime. But, why is it important?
Importance of Eating Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients. Every color in fruits and vegetables represents a different micronutrient, vitamin or mineral, that helps nourish your body. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber serves many purposes including: filling us up (satiety), aiding in regularity of bowel movements, and fiber can help lower cholesterol.
How can I eat more fruits and veggies?
1) Aim for 5 a Day
How can you reach a goal you haven't set? It's impossible. So, let's set a more specific goal and eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
2) Fill half of your plate with fruits or vegetables
I love the MyPlate model of building a healthy plate. You simply take your plate and fill half of it with fruits and vegetables. One serving of fresh fruit is about the size of your fist or a tennis ball. One serving of leafy vegetables is 1 cup. One serving of sliced fruit or cooked vegetables is 1/2 cup. If you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, you will usually get 2 servings of fruits or vegetables per meal. If you eat 3 meals per day and have 2 servings of fruits or vegetables per meal, you will succeed (or maybe even exceed) your goal of getting five servings of fruits and vegetables per day!!
3) Choose a fruit or vegetable as a snack
Many fruits and vegetables are perfectly packaged to transport and eat on the go. Think about apples, bananas, carrots, celery, cuties, Mandarin oranges, and satsumas. One of my cousins would carry around a tomato and eat in as a snack.
4) Eat the Rainbow
As we discussed earlier, every different color in food provides us with different nutrients. So, challenge yourself to eat different colors and make a beautiful, nutritious plate.
5) Try a New Food
In my experience as a registered dietitian (RD), the most common reason I hear people do not eat fruits or vegetables is because they don't like the taste. Our taste preferences change over time, so I would encourage you to try a food you've had before and cook it differently. Challenge yourself to try a new food!
I hope you enjoyed these 5 tips on how to eat more fruits and vegetables. I hope you learned a little something. And, I hope you apply these simple steps to your life. Remember, small changes can produce big results. For more information on healthy eating, you might enjoy these posts on fiber, cholesterol, and healthy fats.
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