Are You Getting Enough Fruits and Vegetables? Great Ways To Add These Nutrition Powerhouses To Your Day!
September is "More Matters" month for fruits and vegetables, and as a Nutritionist, this may be one of my favorite months!
If you have had a consultation with me, you have heard me stress the importance of fruits and vegetables. I mean, I rarely leave the house without an apple in my bag for emergencies! One of the easiest, and healthiest snacks is fruit. They have high water content and fiber, are naturally sweet, and lower in calories, but also nutrient-dense. Also, one of the best ways to make a meal healthier is just by adding more vegetables to the menu! You can easily add a fresh or steamed veggie to any meal of the day.
How much should you be eating? There is no one answer. How much you should eat depends on your current goals, weight, health, stature and calorie intake. However, aiming to fill 1/2 of your plate at each meal is a general goal that everyone can follow. Also, 8oz of 100% fruit juice counts as a serving!
I also often hear "eating healthy is expensive", but it really isn't any more expensive than take-out. Fruits and vegetables don't have to be fresh in order to be healthy. Frozen and canned are still nutritious, and have a longer shelf life. If you choose canned fruits, opt for the fruit in juice versus syrup, and for vegetables, opt for no sodium added. Also, shopping for fruits and vegetables that are in season, will help cut costs as well.
Remember, you're replacing unhealthier foods with fruits and vegetables, not in addition to.
Lastly, variety matters! Different colored fruits and vegetables give different antioxidants and nutrients. Begin including fruits and vegetables that you know you enjoy, and try to expand - don't be afraid! For example, citrus fruits have always been known as the Vitamin C stars, but, dark leafy greens like brussels sprouts, spinach and broccoli, as well as bell peppers, are high in Vitamin C too!
Your challenge this month is to increase your fruits and vegetables! Remember, the key is to replace unhealthier foods with these healthier options. This will keep both your caloric intake, and budget, in line!