Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy eating plan. But is getting enough sometimes a challenge? Not anymore.
Almost all fruits and vegetables are low in the things you don’t want (like sodium, calories and fat) but still pack a powerful punch of nutrients, vitamins and fibre. Even if you have picky eaters to feed, these seven sure-fire tips will help you add more of the good stuff to your meals and snacks without even trying.
- Try something new. If you’re bored with your fruits and veggies, chances are you’re not getting enough variety. Next time you go grocery shopping, try fruits or vegetables you’ve never had before; for example, papaya, lychee, guava, bamboo shoots and rapini.
- Save time with frozen or canned. While fresh is best, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are good alternatives. Be sure you have some handy for when you’re short on time. And while they have about the same nutritional value as fresh, check the label to ensure that there’s no sugar or syrup added (for canned fruits) and that veggies have no salt added.
- Soup it up! Soups are a great way to get more veggies into your diet – and your kids’ tummies. Puree squash, broccoli, carrots, peppers – or just about any vegetable you can think of – and add them to your favourite soup recipe. But don’t stop there: Find and try recipes for fruity soups that use melon or apple.
- Add zing to tomato sauce or chili. Another way to get more vegetables into the mouths of picky eaters is by grating carrots, broccoli, mushrooms or zucchini into their favourite tomato sauce or chili. Chances are they won’t even notice. But even if you’re not trying to sneak them in, adding vegetables to homemade or store-bought sauce will add flavour and nutrients.
- Keep healthy snacks within reach. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit, fruit salad, cut up veggies or prepackaged baby carrots, snow peas or celery sticks on the most visible shelf in your refrigerator. The next time you or a family member heads to the fridge for munchies, you’ll have a no-fuss, no-mess snack waiting.
- Mix ’em up. Choosing fruits and vegetables of different colours is a good way to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. So mix up dark green, orange and red items to make a colourful salad. But don’t be afraid to mix fruits with vegetables; for example, try a spinach salad with orange slices and strawberries.
- Keep it smooth and tasty. Get one or two servings of fruit early in the day by having a smoothie for breakfast. You can use just about any fruit you want for a fast and easy way to start the day. Dietitians of Canada recommends you whirl up the following in a blender:
- 125 mL of milk or orange juice
- 175 mL of flavoured yogurt
- 125 mL of fruit (whatever you have on hand)
You can also add a few ice cubes or use frozen fruit. Enjoy!
Looking for recipes? Check out our recipes for delicious and nutritious meals and snacks.