Insider’s Viewpoint: Jump Start the New Year with Fruits & Veggies
Forget about fad diets, cutting carbs, giving up this or eating less of that. Make 2018 your best year yet with one simple goal: eat more fruits and vegetables!
Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients like fiber, potassium and folate that may help prevent heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables as possible to get the widest range of nutrients.
Studies show that most people are not getting enough produce in their diets, but reaching your recommended servings is easier than you think. Increasing your intake by just one more fruit and one more vegetable each day can help close the consumption gap.
5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Fruit & Veggie Intake
- Start Early. Start your day off by incorporating some fruits and veggies in your breakfast. Top your pancakes with sliced bananas, mix some chopped apples into your oatmeal, add spinach to your omelet or top your yogurt with berries. The possibilities are endless!
- Plan Ahead. Keep a stash of pre-washed and pre-cut fruits and veggies on hand for easy snacks. Carrot sticks, apple slices and pre-washed grapes are all easy ways to get a quick bite.
- Keep It In Plain Sight. Don’t hide these nutrition-packed foods in the fridge drawer or keep them buried in the pantry. Keep a fruit bowl on the counter and pre-cut fruits and veggies front and center in your fridge. Make these choices just as easy as a bag of chips.
- Mix It In. Fruits and vegetables can be easily incorporated into your favorite meals! Add some sliced vegetables to your sandwich, serve up tacos with some beans and corn, use veggie noodles instead of your traditional pasta, or add a variety of chopped veggies into your soups and stews.
- All Forms Matter. Whether you pick fresh, frozen, dried, canned or 100% juice, all forms of fruits and veggies count toward your goal. Buying a variety minimizes waste, maximizes nutrition and helps your budget, too!
Need some inspiration? Try this veggie-packed recipe!
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, washed
- 12 oz. cooked chicken, diced
- ⅓ cup buffalo sauce
- 1 bag steamable frozen broccoli
- Dressing of choice (ranch or blue cheese)
- Prick each washed sweet potato several times with a fork. Microwave until soft, about 5 minutes. Once sweet potatoes are done, remove from microwave and set aside to cool.
- While sweet potatoes are cooking, toss diced chicken with buffalo sauce. Set aside.
- Microwave a bag of steamable broccoli according to package instructions. Once done, remove and allow to cool slightly before assembling.
- To assemble, slice sweet potatoes in half. Top with buffalo chicken, steamed broccoli and dressing of choice. Serve.
So, what do you say … can you aim for just one more fruit and vegetable each day?
Recipe from Festival Food’s Blog
Jenni Dreyer, RDN, CD
Nutrition Communications Specialist
Skogen’s Festival Foods