How Many am I Supposed to Eat???
It’s recommended that we eat 5-9 fruits and vegetables every day. Every day. If you have 5 small meals a day, and have one at each meal, that’s five right there. It’s entirely doable!
I counsel clients all the time and they tell me they eat plenty of fiber, but once we run down their usual list, it consists of some low fiber Cheerios, an apple with the skin peeled off and mashed potatoes at dinner. Women need 25 gms of fiber and men need 38 gms of fiber every day. Food labels will tell you how much fiber a product contains per serving. Although fruits and vegetables do not have labels, they are naturally high in fiber and for an added benefit, they provide water and fluid to keep all that fiber flowing smoothly though your intestines.
Fruits & Veggies are full of nutrients and fiber to promote good healthy eating and therefore prevent various diseases. The brighter and darker the colors, the more nutrients. Opt for a variety of all colors. If you fill up on these powerful foods, there will be little room left for less nutritious foods.
Here are some tips to get you started
- After buying fruits and vegetables, cut them up into individual portion sizes right away and store in reusable containers for quick and easy grab & go snacks. Keep fruit on the table for visual reminders as a quick snack.
- Buy fresh varieties, but also keep frozen vegetables and fruits in the freezer as back up for when you run out. Frozen is just as nutritious, if not more nutritious than fresh produce and has no sodium as compared to canned varieties. If you must choose canned, opt for low sodium or no salt added brands.
- Every time you sit down to eat, make sure there is a fruit or vegetable in front of you, meals and snacks.
- Make half your plate full of vegetables and/or fruits. The other quarter should be a lean protein, and the other quarter a serving of nutritious whole grains.
- Grow a garden and have vegetables and fresh berries available right in your yard
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead of drinking them to get the needed fiber. Juice has no fiber.
- The brighter the color, the more nutrients, i.e. sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes, romaine lettuce or raw spinach is better than iceberg lettuce.
- Choose fruit for dessert instead of other high calorie options. Make it interesting: drizzle a little chocolate syrup over fresh strawberries, make fruit kabobs, or at least add fresh fruit to your ice cream, yogurt, and angel food cake.
- On hot days make a large salad with grilled chicken, but add lots of different colors and varieties of both fruits and vegetables: raw spinach leaves and arugula, red peppers, watermelon, carrots, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, walnuts, dried cranberries, etc. Leave out “white” toppings such as mayonnaise based foods, croutons, and large amounts of high fat cheeses.
- On cold days add blueberries and walnuts to your oatmeal.
There are many ways to add fruits and vegetables to your meals:
- Add berries to your cereal.
- Veggies to your omelet.
- Make veggie kabobs on the grill.
- Have a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
- Add vegetables to your pasta.
- Add fruit to muffins or cakes.
- Add as sandwich toppings.
- Stir-fry tonight for dinner.
- Make fresh salsa for dipping or for a topping on chicken and fish.
P.S. Did you know Mangoes are high in Retinol and are therefore good for your skin! (Think Retin-A)
P.S.S. Want to know if you are eating enough fruits and vegetables? You should be in an out of the bathroom in the same amount of time that it takes you to pee! You should be done before you have time to reach for that damn magazine.
How about you? How many colors did you eat today? What new tricks will you try in order to incorporate more fruits and veggies?
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