Sometimes it seems like a stretch to eat those eight to nine servings of fruit and vegetables in a single day. But the benefits are plentiful, not only are fruits and veggies the best way to get the vitamins and fiber your body needs, they also help you feel fuller when on a diet. Check out these tips from Reader’s Digest.
1. Make the most of a salad.
A salad is a great opportunity to get three or four servings of veggies in one dish. To seven ounces of mixed lettuce, add a half cup of chopped carrots, cucumber or celery, chunks of a small apple and a chopped of tomatoes. That’s four servings of fruits and vegetables right there. To get some protein in your meal, add strips of grilled chicken, a sliced hardboiled egg or tofu cubes.
2. Swap pasta for squash.
The next time you’re thinking about cooking spaghetti, why not try spaghetti squash? You can top the vegetable strands with your favorite healthy tomato sauce.
3. Make a sweet dessert.
Eat your vegetables…for dessert? Top steamed carrots or baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey, apple cider, or maple syrup.
4. Use cauliflower to make popcorn.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the florets off a cauliflower and into bite-size pieces. Mix the cauliflower pieces with 2 tablespoons canola oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Spread the pieces on a cookie sheet and bake them until they are brown, turning them once.
5. Have a veggie snack.
Instead of chips, crunch on a half cup of carrots, raw broccoli or celery with a little bit of low-fat dip or hummus.
6. Have a fruit snack.
Mix together 1/4 cup grapes and a 1/4 of blue berries for a sweet snack that’s worth two servings of fruit. You can even try freezing them for a popsicle substitute.
7. Got nuts.
Add some flavor to green beans with a sprinkling of toasted, chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds.
8. Drink up.
A single eight ounce can of low-sodium V8 juice contains two servings of vegetables.
9. Try a vegetable roast.
Roasting brings out the flavors in nearly any vegetable. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the veggies into chunks, coat lightly with vegetable oil and spread on a greased pan, and roast until browned.
July 27th, 2010