Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Blog - 15 Easy Ways To Eat More Fruits And Vegetables Every Day
Try these 15 simple tweaks to up your fruit and veggie intake.
We know that fruits and veggies are good for us – they’re full of vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Yet according to Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation's HealthyNurse Survey, nurses are only eating about two and a half of the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day (data examined March 1, 2020 through April 29, 2021).
Five servings a day might sound daunting, but you don’t have to drastically change your diet to up your intake. Consistent, small tweaks like these can make a big difference.
- Use a spiralizer. It’s a tool that turns fresh veggies like zucchini, beets, and carrots into noodle-like strands. Add the “zoodles” to pasta dishes to bulk up your meal without extra calories. Try half veggie noodle, half pasta or replace the traditional noodles entirely with veggies.
- Keep frozen produce handy. Most frozen fruits and vegetables are full of flavor and nutritional value since they are frozen within an hour of being picked. Plus, frozen produce is available year-round and is ready to use without the hassle of washing or peeling. Blend mango chunks into a smoothie, sauté broccoli, or steam artichokes.
- Roast veggies in the oven. Preparing vegetables doesn’t need to be complicated. Most veggies can be roasted, which caramelizes them and adds a salty-sweet flavor. Wash the vegetables (carrots, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and cauliflower all work well), toss with olive oil and sea salt, and place in the oven at high heat (400 degrees) until lightly browned.
- Use lettuce instead of bread. Try skipping the bread, pita, or taco shells once in a while and wrap your protein in large leaves of Romaine or iceberg lettuce instead.
- Stack your sandwich. Meat and cheese don’t have to be the only stars of your sub. Add in sliced cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, or spinach. Using herbs like basil, dill, or mint is a great way to add flavor, too!
- Make Monday meatless. Give up meat one day per week. The change will give you and your family opportunities to try healthy vegetarian dishes like these.
- Pair fruit with cheese. The sweetness of fruit is an excellent complement to salty cheese. Make yourself a small fruit and cheese platter as a snack. Grapes, berries, pears, figs, and apples work well.
- Visit a farmer’s market. You’ll get fresh produce and support your community. Plus, the vendors are knowledgeable about their products so they’ll be able to give you recipe and preparation ideas.
- Cook fruit on the grill. Place peaches, plums, nectarines, or pineapple on the grill over low heat. The sugar in the fruit will caramelize, giving it a sweet, smoky flavor.
- Make kebabs. Pair your protein of choice with vegetables like tomatoes, onion, and zucchini on a skewer.
- Buy premade fruit salad and cut-up veggies. We know you’re perfectly capable of cutting produce yourself, but if the prep is keeping you from eating enough fruits and vegetables, the small expense is worth it. Seeing watermelon chunks or sliced bell peppers in your fridge all ready to go will make you more likely to grab and eat them.
- Skip the chips. Instead of chips, dip veggies like jicama, carrots, and cucumbers in hummus or guacamole.
- Keep a bowl of fruit in sight. Not only will it look pretty, but you’ll be more likely to grab an apple or an orange as a snack if they’re front and center.
- Make banana “ nice cream.” Yes, n-i-c-e cream! Peel a few ripe bananas (over-ripe works too!) and put them in the freezer for a few hours. Puree in a blender and then add any toppings you’d like. Need some inspiration? Instagram has plenty of delicious recipes for #nicecream.
- Eat fruit for dessert. Need something sweet after a meal? Munch on frozen grapes, strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream, or naturally delicious pineapple chunks.
Article updated 2/15/22.
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