When it comes to vegetables and fruit, many people just aren’t getting enough in their daily diet. It is too easy to order pizza, or microwave a burger – or make a salad but add too much dressing and cheese vs. not enough leaves. And it is even easier not to think about those things.
But when you are looking for a way to improve how you feel, increase your daily exercise, lift more weights, or even improve your grip strength, what you eat makes a big difference. Our bodies are designed to use a specific set of nutrients. It is better for us both mentally and physically to supply that.
When looking for a marked improvement in your mental health, energy, and perhaps even see a brightening in your skin then you need to pack in more of the good stuff.
Get Over It
There isn’t an easy way to say it, but unless you make the mental adjustments, you won’t make the changes. You have to have a firm conversation with yourself. Become dedicated to fuelling your body in the right way.
Suck It Up
Drinking your fruits and vegetables can be a super quick way to increase your intake. Tropical smoothies packed with pineapples, oranges, grapefruit, and mangoes (and crushed ice). Or a lean green smoothie in the mornings with apples, cucumbers, kiwis, and spinach might be more your speed. You can add a range of supplements to your smoothies too, which can further your endeavor to be healthier.
If you are preparing your veggies and fruit, you might get trapped in the ‘quick grab’ cycle. On face value, it isn’t faster to make a sandwich instead of peeling a banana, but the former might be more appealing when you are hungry. If you have your veggies cooked already, and all you need to do is grab them, you are much more likely to stick to your own plan. There are some great food prep guides online to help you work out the best way to do this.
If you spend each weekend planning and preparing the week ahead, you will save time and money. Meal delivery boxes can be of great value and reduce your planning and prep time dramatically. As well as reducing your food waste.
Try to choose meals with at least 2-3 portions of vegetables for your evening meal and two meat-free days. You will be increasing your intake pretty quickly without much effort.
If you are a grazer instead of a meal eater, you might find that snacking is your downfall. In this case, it can also be your savior. Have a range of gherkins, cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, carrots, and even olives in bowls ready to grab at any time of the day. If you are partial to snack time in your home, then placing these bowls on the table will help everyone increase their intake.
Once a week, skip the smoothie or the toast and have a big bowl of fruit. Most people find that a weekend is a better day to have this, so they can take their time to prepare it. Buddha bowls and Poke bowls are a big trend, they are packed with fresh ingredients and balanced and healthy meals.
Try to make the base of any savory meal green leaves like spinach or rocket, then build on that. Grains and plenty of them will help fill you up. Tofu and eggs are a great source of protein, while avocado, cucumbers, and chilies can bring even more flavor.
Eat the rainbow – in fruit and vegetables. The nutrients that are contained within the fruit or vegetable are differentiated by color. Here is a rough rainbow for you to try over the day.
- Red – raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
- White – cauliflower, garlic, potatoes
- Yellow – Mangos, lemons, banana
- Green – kiwi, spinach, broccoli, leafy greens
- Orange – oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots
- Blue – blueberries, blackberries
- Purple – eggplant, plums and purple cabbage
Try to tick off the entire rainbow every day.
The final piece of the supercharged fruit and veggie intake is all about your timing. There are some fruits and veggies that have a bigger impact at different times of the day. Here are a few suggestions:
- Breakfast – Slice bananas with porridge, berries, yogurt or eggs, and grapefruit. Pure fruit juice to drink.
- Lunch – try a Buddha bowl, soups, with a side of cucumber and a bag of veggie sticks and hummus dip.
- Dinner – Microwave veggies! Quick and tasty. If you are cooking rice or pasta, throw in broccoli or cauliflower for the last few minutes to increase your intake. Make the sauce completely from veggies.