Simple ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake
We are well aware of the many benefits associated with eating more fruit and vegetables. They contain essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. Increasing our fruit and vegetable intake has been found to lower our risk of chronic disease.
It may seem like a difficult task at times though to reach the recommended daily intake. Studies have found that only 1 in 10 adults manage to achieve the quantities suggested by governments – which does vary from country to country.
Here are some practical tips that might make eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables seem more achievable:
- Try to include at least one fruit or vegetable with each meal and snack.
- Start with breakfast. Add chopped up fruit to cereals, oatmeal or muesli or include mushrooms, spinach, peppers and onion in an omelette.
- Vegetable crudites with dips like hummus or guacamole make great balanced snacks.
- Slice up pieces of fruit like apple or pear and add a dollop of sugar-free nut butter of your choice as a dip – this makes for a delicious and filling snack.
- Aim to eat a rainbow for lunch and dinner by including a variety of vegetables and fruits in these meals. Salads and stir-fries, as well as soups are healthy options.
- Consider replacing your usual side dish with a vegetable option.
- Smoothies are a fantastic way of increasing fruit and vegetable intake as these can be enjoyed at any time of day and are a great way of using up produce that isn’t as fresh as you may like it to be.
- Frozen or canned vegetables and fruit are just as good as fresh – make use of these options whenever possible as they are often cheaper and you won’t need to worry about using them up quickly.
- Try to eat seasonally – fruit and vegetables that are in season will be plentiful. They also tend to be more affordable and tasty.
- Grow your own – while this is of course dependent on the weather and the space you have available, there are many innovative ways to grow fruit and vegetables – even on a windowsill or balcony.
- Add chopped up vegetables to pizza for a delicious and nutritious topping.
- Pasta sauces can be homemade and frozen and vegetables like mushrooms, carrot, broccoli, spinach and many others can be added to these before blending. This is particularly useful if catering for children or anybody who might otherwise struggle to enjoy these vegetables in their original form.
- Chop or slice salad and vegetables ahead of time and keep these in a container in the refrigerator so that it is quick and easy to grab some for a snack or to add to a meal.
- Keep fruit in a visible, easy to reach place such as on top of the kitchen counter or somewhere in the home that you often walk past.
- Batch cooking and freezing meals is a useful task – it means you are able to cook when you do have the time to and you will also be able to use up vegetables more easily whilst they are still fresh. Soups, stews, casseroles and pies all freeze well and there are many delicious recipes in books and online that will include plenty of vegetables.
Disclaimer: The content of this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. References available on request.