One easy way to healthify your meals and snacks is by adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet. According to Harvard School of Public Health, eating plenty of vegetables and fruits may help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and prevent some types of cancer. The latest dietary guidelines call for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on one’s caloric intake. But many of use aren’t getting the recommended dietary intake.
Health Advocate offers some tips on how to add more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Consider trying these ideas:
Get a healthy start. A healthy breakfast can help keep your energy levels up for the rest of the day. Try adding some antioxidant-rich blueberries to plain yogurt; mix in a little honey and granola. Or, add sliced bananas and strawberries to a bowl of whole grain cereal with skim milk or a non-dairy alternative like almond, rice or soy milk.
Shake and serve. Make a homemade shake in your blender. Blend yogurt, skim milk or a non-dairy substitute with fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches, mangoes or bananas, or a handful of berries.
Buy and freeze. Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to prepare. Just pop them in the microwave or steam/ boil them on the stovetop. Choices include, but are certainly not limited to, peas, carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli or a mixed medley…there are so many choices!
Pick ready-made options. Pre-cut, pre-washed salad in a bag can make preparing a meal very easy. Just add some protein to the salad—such as grilled chicken or low-sodium tuna—for a quick, healthy meal.
Make healthy snacks. Cut up some fresh veggies and bring them to work for a nutritious afternoon snack—carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers or celery are healthy, easily portable choices. Or place a bowl of fresh fruit (such as apples, oranges, clementines, and/or bananas) on your desk so that healthy fare is always at hand.
Try something new. Give your sandwich a new twist by adding cucumbers, sprouts, avocado, red and green peppers, apples, strawberries, melon slices or pears. With so many different combinations to choose from, you won’t be eating the same sandwich every day.
Choose a healthier side. When you’re dining out, opt for a healthy salad as a side dish instead of choosing a fried side such as French fries or onion rings.
Add some zing. Make a refreshing drink by infusing sparkling water with fresh fruit (try berries or citrus fruit).
Interested in learning about more ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet? If you have access to a wellness coach through a service like Health Advocate, give your coach a call and ask them for ideas. Or check out the following websites to learn more about nutrition:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): This site gives basic facts about nutrition. Go to www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/index.html
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) published Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provides advice on good dietary habits. Go to: www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines