There are so many tempting treats available at this time of year! I think a treat every now and then is totally fine. Pick a favorite and stick to one serving, and then make sure you fill up with fresh fruits and veggies before and after. Here are 3 big reasons why you should make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies during the holidays (or any day really!):
- Weight Management: You will get about 10-20 times more fiber in your diet; this will help make you feel fuller, faster and thus help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Energy: Filling up on fresh fruits & veggies means you’ll have less room for sweet treats filled with sugar; less added sugar means more natural energy.
- Disease Prevention: The nutrients in fruits in vegetables, that can’t be replicated by supplements, reduce risk for heart disease, diabetes, bone loss, and some cancers.
You should have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but more is better. Fresh produce is best in my book, and frozen is acceptable too, especially in winter when it’s harder to have access to fresh produce due to weather in many areas. I generally stay away from canned produce – it often has preservatives, additives, and less nutritional value. Also – BEWARE of juices! Many juices in stores are loaded with sugar. Unless you are making your own juice at home, I would skip the juice and drink water.
Here are my 3 favorite tips for sneaking in more fruits & veggies into your daily meal plan:
- Breakfast: Smoothies are a great way to add a couple servings of produce and start you day in a nutritious way. A general recipe I use for my smoothies: 2 servings of fruit + 1 veggie serving, usually a handful of greens, like spinach + 1 cup of liquid, like unsweetened almond milk. If you are really active and want some extra energy add in some protein, like plain Greek yogurt or your favorite protein powder.
- Lunch: Have a salad. 2 cups of greens + 2 servings of other veggies + maybe even 1 serving of fruit. Top with some protein, like grilled chicken and some healthy fat, like avocado. You can also use these same ingredients and put in a wrap or a pita.
- Dinner: The food processor is your friend. Chop up 1-2 servings of veggies and sneak them into whatever you are preparing – for example, chopped carrots and spinach can hide in your marinara sauce or chili. Chopped cauliflower can sneak into mac-n-cheese. Chopped bell peppers and mushrooms blend well with salsa.
That is about 10 servings of fruits & veggies.
Question for you: Are these strategies you could use to add more fruits & veggies into your diet? Now it’s your turn… work on adding more fruits and veggies into your holiday meal plan and send me your favorite tips & tricks to share on the blog.