Do you have the best of intentions, but ultimately struggle when you want to eat more fruits and vegetables? Do you get the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
In fact, very few people get anywhere near the recommended amount.
I asked myself why this is so, because we all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, and especially good for brain health. The answer I came up with is that intentions are one thing but following through requires tips and a strategy.
You must start out on your goal and journey to increase your produce intake by gauging where you currently stand. Asking the right questions and this kind of truthful assessment is the first step.
Are you eating one serving of fruits and vegetables per day or four?
From there, set a realistic goal. Maybe that’s increasing your intake by one or two servings per day.
Next, plan exactly HOW you will actually increase your intake each day.
Once you reach your goal and maintain it for a few weeks, consider setting a new goal. Over time with good planning and execution you will achieve the recommended amounts per day for optimal brain health.
Top 10 easy tips to eat more fruits and vegetables with your meals and snacks:
• Food preparation is key. After shopping, wash and cut fresh vegetables. This makes it easier to grab-and-go during the week. It also reduces the chance that your produce will be forgotten and go bad. No sense in wasting good food or good money, right?
• I don’t know about you, but out of sight often means out of mind. If I keep healthy food where I can easily see and access it, I eat it! Store fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and veggies in easy-to-see places in the refrigerator, pantry, shelves and countertops.
• Try this instead of keeping a handy candy jar. Keep a bowl of washed apples, oranges, bananas and other ready-to-eat fruits on the table.
• Have a sweet tooth? Don’t like to finish a meal without a sweet treat? Try eating fruit with yogurt for dessert.
• Include a veggie tray with dip for a healthy before-dinner snack. My favorite healthy dip is hummus.
• Make a habit of including a side salad with a mix of leafy greens with lunch and/or dinner. Heck, make a salad the main course of your meal!
• Add veggies like spinach, tomatoes, peppers and avocado to sandwiches.
• Add veggies to your pizza. Add fruit to your pizza. Pineapple on pizza is yummy!
• Make fruit smoothies for breakfast and snacks.
Incorporate at least one serving of veggies and/or fruits into all snacks and meals throughout the day.
It’s what we actually WILL DO that makes all the difference. Especially when we want to make our food choices healthy. It can be easy to eat more fruits and vegetables! Using these tips helps ensure that you’re feeding your body and brain the best nutrients possible!
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.