It’s no secret that eating enough fruits and vegetables is a crucial part of achieving excellent health. But for whatever reason, from a young age many of us have turned up our noses to the foods that are most beneficial for our bodies. We were stubborn when faced with Mom's you can’t leave the dinner table until you finish your veggies. And now, many of us have to use that same tactic with our own children.
It can be tempting to push fruits and vegetables aside when the nutrient-poor, processed food of the Standard American Diet is advertised at every turn. But our bodies need the essential nutrients that fruits and vegetables provide.
On average, Americans eat 2-3 servings of produce a day—only half the amount we should be eating. The USDA recommends filling at least half of your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal (and we recommend even more!).
But for some of us, that may be easier said than done.
Maybe there are vegetables you would like to eat more of, but you’ve never liked the taste. Or maybe you or your children don’t like raw fruits and vegetables, and you are struggling to find ways to fit them into your diet.
Here’s what I do to make sure I’m eating enough fruits and vegetables:
I start each morning with a green smoothie. Not only is it a great way to increase my daily fruit intake, it also lets me include more nutrient-dense leafy greens in my diet. The recipe possibilities are endless—throw some of your favorite fruits and a handful of greens in a blender, and you have a delicious breakfast!
If there is a vegetable I don’t like but want to include in my diet, I try to hide it in the meals I make. For example, I have never liked mushrooms, but because I know how beneficial they are to my health, l add them to stews and chilis. Most of the time, they’re so well hidden among the other delicious, healthy ingredients I forget I’m eating them. And because taste is learned, I might even end up liking mushrooms someday!
Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.
The following recipes have such tasty blends of ingredients that it’s easy to sneak in some vegetables you wouldn’t normally eat. Because most of the ingredients in these recipes are vegetables, they are a great way to increase your daily vegetable intake.
Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers
Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
What do you do to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet? Let us know in the comments below!