Sneak Fruits and Vegetables into your Diet
Get Needed Diva Nutrition Daily!
“Eat the rainbow.”
-Ellie Krieger, nutritionist, author & host of the Food Network show “Healthy Appetite”
The misconception that eating right - with fruits and vegetables as a major part of your daily diet - is impossible is running rampant in our already crazy, trans fat plagued world. I’m going to teach you how you can sneak fruit and vegetables into your diet painlessly and how this will become second nature so fast it will make your head spin.
For a lot of people, vegetables means boring salads, steamed broccoli, peas or some other green vegetable that was mushy and flavorless when you were forced to eat it as a child. The good news is, these and other members of the vegetable family can taste delicious and are good for you inside and out. If you consider vegetables vile, a good way to attempt to consume them involves glasses with some bushy black eye brows and a big plastic nose attached. What I mean by that is, by dicing or shredding vegetables, you can easily disguise them in casseroles or in slaw or salads. Masquerading as just another ingredient in your yummy dish, you are getting the nutrients and vitamins your body needs. Pizza, pasta and sandwiches are other examples where vegetables such as broccoli, onions, red, yellow or green peppers, spinach, sprouts and mushrooms can be snuck in. Salads are like a painting to me, with the lettuce as the canvas. Experiment with the many different varieties of lettuce out there. If you are a one hit wonder, eating only iceberg, it’s no wonder you are bored to tears with salad. Bitter greens such as radicchio, arugala, endive or broccoli rabe add zing to any salad routine. I often supplement my greens with fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. Corn, peas, green beans, roasted red peppers, all these help to liven up the color and flavor of the food. With frozen veggies, I buy big bags and break them down into small zippered bags that I can take out of the freezer shortly before I want to eat a salad. If you need to, you can microwave them for a few seconds to totally thaw them. Salads can also be enhanced with the addition of fruits and nuts. I use canned mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, and fruit cocktail often. Look for the ones packed in water, their own juice or light syrup. Skip the ones in heavy syrup. Fresh fruit is always a winner, of course.
Ice cream is a good place to start when thinking in terms of adding fruit to your diet. Fresh, frozen or canned, pile it on, baby! I divide large bags of frozen peaches, blueberries (a super food!!), and strawberries into small zipper bags so they thaw quickly. I take a little bag out in the morning when I get up, make coffee, and by the time I’m ready for yogurt, cereal or an English muffin, my fruit is ready for me! Even when I’m eating fruit flavored yogurt I add more fruit. The more the merrier. Muffins are an ideal place to sneak in fruit, opt for bran or any whole grain recipe if possible. Carrot zucchini is one of my faves along with blueberry, apple cinnamon or cranberry orange. Banana, lemon poppy seed, orange spice, apricot or cherry muffins all offer opportunities to sneak those much needed fruits into your daily diet. It helps to have a fruit bowl, too, I’ve found. If fruit is there, staring you in the face, you will eat it. And if Cheetos are not there, staring you in the face, but fruit is, there is all the more chance you will eat it! Don’t forget smoothies as a friend of fruit. Blend up fruit with yogurt, low fat milk and/or ice cubes and you have yet another easy fruit opportunity at your fingertips.
I know I am fortunate to love fruits and vegetables so I don’t have any issues with not getting enough. But I automatically eat them because a) I like them and b) I am in the habit of looking for way to include them, such as with pizza. I can always justify eating pizza, as I eat green peppers and onions and other delicious veggies on it every time. Use foods you love, like ice cream, pizza, pie, and salads (most females I know LOVE salads. I’ve decided women were born with a salad gene) to help, what some of you might consider medicine, go down. It’s simple to sneak fruits and vegetables into your diet and if you do it consistently, it will be come automatic in no time. When preparing meals or ordering at a restaurant, get a visual picture of what you’ll be eating and try to eat the rainbow, as Ellie suggests. A wide variety of color on your plate helps keep food interesting to the eye and palate and helps to ensure that you are getting good nutrition you need and deserve.
Laura Miller writes on beauty, fashion, and health related topics from the glamorous Southern city of Atlanta, Ga. Her portfolio and her cosmetic collection grow daily.