Youve probably heard a million times that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables is essential to healthy aging. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women aged 51 or older need to eat at least 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables a day, while men within the same age range should consume 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables per day. However, the CDC also noted that around 90 percent of adults fail to meet these daily recommendations.
Eating enough fruits and vegetables can be particularly challenging if you dont like either type of food. However, its essential that youre finding strategies that work them into your diet. Now is a good time to learn how to do this, as September is National Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month. There are ways to subtly introduce more produce into your diet so that getting your daily portions in isnt so difficult. First, you should understand the importance of consuming a diet with fruits and vegetables.
"Fruits and veggies can help prevent your risk of heart disease."
Why is consuming fruits and veggies so essential to your health? The Produce for Better Health Foundation explained that one of the many reasons eating enough vegetables and fruits is important is because they provide the fiber thats needed to keep your digestive system functioning properly. Going long periods without eating them may result in a weaker digestive system that causes stomach aches and discomfort.
While fruits and veggies are filling, they are naturally low in calories, which makes them essential for adults trying to maintain their body weight. The fact that they help people keep their weight down and ensure they have a healthy digestive system is just one aspect that helps avoid serious diseases. The vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables provide also reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer. Theyre also vital to ensuring you stay energized throughout the day.
How do you fit fruits and veggies into your diet if you dont like the majority of them? The good news is that theres a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available to you, so youre bound to find one or two of both that arent too much of a struggle to eat. There are also a number of ways to consume them without tasting them too much.
3 tips to subtly work veggies and fruits into your diet When you think of eating fruits and veggies, a plate or cup filled with them may come to mind. However, there are plenty of creative ways to whip up a few nutritious meals that include both of them without having to eat them in their original state. Here are three tips to tricking yourself into eating your recommended portions of fruits and vegetables:
1. Add spinach or kale to your fruit smoothies While drinking smoothies is a great strategy to ensure youre getting enough fruits - as theyre normally made with produce like bananas and berries - they can easily be made with vegetables without ruining the overall taste. For example, if you usually drink a smoothie made from strawberries, blueberries and vanilla yogurt, add one or two cups of spinach or kale. This usually doesnt add any noticeable extra taste - the only difference you may notice is a slightly green tint.
"Get your entire daily fruit serving with a tasty oatmeal creation."
2. Go big on breakfast Its more common for people to dislike vegetables than fruits, but if you do find yourself having a hard time fitting fruits into your diet, breakfast is a great time to get creative. You can consume your whole two cups of fruit at once with a tasty oatmeal creation. Cooking Light magazine suggested combining either fresh or frozen berries and dried fruit - which often tastes like candy more than actual fruit - into cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. The delicious combination of fruits with grains and dairy will make it harder to taste the fruit.
3. Make veggie versions of your favorite foods Are you a major pasta fan? Why not put a healthy twist on your favorite Italian meal? Prepare squash or zucchini spaghetti to trick your taste buds into welcoming your daily vegetable portion. According to Allrecipes, for zucchini pasta, all you have to do is use a vegetable peeler to cut long strips of the zucchini, discarding the seeds, and place the strips into a pot with olive oil and a little bit of water to soften their texture. The whole process takes no more than 25 minutes and requires very few ingredients. For full instructions, click here. If youre more of a squash fan, try this recipe for a meal thats so tasty you wont believe youre eating a plate of vegetables for dinner.