Remember that old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Unfortunately, one apple per day won’t cut it when it comes to meeting your daily need for fruits and vegetables. For a typical adult, 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies is recommended daily. Eating more fruits and veggies has been linked to better mood, focus, sleep, energy, and memory.
When you’re slammed with work and school, it might seem impossible to get the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies each day, but it’s not! Try these 10 easy tips to help pack in the fruits and veggies!
- Split Your Plate
This might be one of the easiest ways to help you eat enough fruits and vegetables with every meal. Simply divide your plate, whether it be your breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal, and make sure half of the meal includes fruits and vegetables. Typically eating more vegetables than fruit is recommended.
- Start With Breakfast
The first and most important meal of the day is a prime time to start packing in your fruits and veggies. Depending on the recipe, some smoothies can provide anywhere from 3-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. Breakfast is a great time to jumpstart your day if you have a smoothie, oatmeal with frozen fruit, and an apple to eat on the go. That’s about 6 servings just in the morning! For convenience, add frozen fruit to smoothies, acai bowls, oatmeal, cereal, and waffles.
- Choose Your Side
When dining out, if you have the chance to choose a fruit or vegetable as your side, go for it! Passing up on the bag of potato chips or the fries for an apple or a side salad may just help you out in the long run.
- Veggify Your Dishes
Veggies don’t have to be boring! Recipes that substitute veggies for other ingredients are everywhere. Some savory examples are cauliflower pizza crust, summer squash lasagna, spaghetti squash noodles and zucchini noodles (“zoodles”).
- Pack Snacks
With your busy schedule, finding time to eat healthy can be difficult. Try packing fresh fruit or vegetable snacks for when you’re on the go! Some satisfying options to try are hummus with carrots, edamame, apples with yogurt dip, clementines, bananas, or a spinach veggie wrap!
- Meatless Monday
Getting on board with the Meatless Monday trend not only helps boost your fresh produce intake— it’s also environmentally friendly. Trying a new meatless recipe every week will teach you creative and tasty ways to use fruits and vegetables!
- Meatlover Solution
Okay, so maybe the Meatless Monday idea made you cringe. If you’re a die-hard meat lover, try topping your favorite meat with sautéed vegetables. This is an easy way to add flavor and nutrients. Peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms create mouthwatering dishes when paired with fish, pork, steak, and chicken.
- Add Spinach or Kale to Everything
Want some serious brain food? Spinach and kale are both nutrient powerhouses. Supercharge your diet with spinach and kale by throwing some into your smoothies, scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, stews, and sautéed veggies!
- Dried and Freeze Dried Fruits
Dried fruits make quick and delicious snacks as well as great mix-ins for cereal and salads. Dried fruit packs a lot of nutrition in every bite and is a great alternative when fresh fruit isn’t available. Some fan favorites are mangos, bananas, apples, and coconut. When you buy dried fruit, check the label to avoid added sugars! For chance to win Crunchies, awesome freeze dried fruit, head over to our Instagram right now!
- Make it a Priority
The only way to actually eat 5-9 (or more) servings of fruit and vegetables each day is to make it a priority. Stock your fridge with fruits and veggies and have them all ready to grab and go. Chow down on salads whenever possible and be mindful of your daily choices.
The next time someone tells you it’s impossible to eat enough fruits and veggies each day, you’ll know ten tips to help them succeed. Be adventurous and explore your local farmer’s market to see what tasty options are available!
Jackie Parker is currently a junior nutritional sciences student on the dietetics track at Texas A&M University.