We all grew up with parents and teachers advocating that we should be eating fruit and vegetables 5 times a day. However, in this world of processed boxed foods, we see the term fruit or vegetable more often than not slapped on an item that really shouldn’t be considered a fruit or vegetable serving. Many of us are consuming extremely boxed and processed versions of real food that they are considering to be fruits or veggies. In adulthood, and in the midst of a crazy busy life, we often forget that which we learned as a child. Few people doubt that fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and nutrients, but does that mean that we are eating enough of them?
Consensus differs amongst academics regarding specific quantities, but the most up to date recommendations on this subject would advocate that an adult eat five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. That might sound like a lot, but when you break it down it really shouldn’t be considered all that much. In fact, it should be a basic standard. The bottom line is that we need to eat more plants. This is actually a hashtag I use a lot on Instagram on my nutritionist account. God gave us fruits and vegetables for a reason. Their colors are not just to look pretty- they represent different nutrients we need to keep our bodies strong. #eatmoreplants
When considering breakfast, many people will stick to that which they know. This often involves toast, cereal or even nothing more than a cup of coffee. Whether breakfast is or is not the most important meal of the day may be debatable, but there is no doubt that a good breakfast sets your body up for the day ahead. Very few people consider vegetables and low sugar fruits like berries for their breakfast, when they should be stapes instead of the starchy and sugary choices. Switching a bowl of cereal (that turns to pure sugar once consumed) for a veggie omelette and a bowl of berries could make a huge difference in your overall health and in how you feel the rest of the day. This type of breakfast will help keep you full and keep your blood sugar level for the rest of the day. A breakfast of carbs and sugar sets you up for a day of tired and cranky and more hungry.
Lunch is a great time to load up on vegetables. Again, all too often people repeat the same mistake that they make at breakfast time. Deli made sandwiches and rolls may taste nice, but they are packed full of carbs and calories, which turn to sugar, and are often severely lacking in proper servings of vegetables. Swapping the sandwich for a homemade salad can be the perfect way to work on an imbalance you may have in your diet. Vegetables also make for ideal snacks. Ditch the packet of popcorn, the cookies or the fizzy drink you have to keep you going between lunch and dinner and swap it for raw veggies and hummus or apples and peanut butter. Always look for ways to take out carbs and sugar and processed items and replace with plants.
These are all small changes you can make to your diet, but these small changes can do wonders for your health, and your waistline. Vegetables should be at the core of our daily dietary intake, and yet they are all too often forgotten about for their more attractive carb-cousins. Ask yourself this; are you eating 5 servings of veg and 2 of low-sugar fruit every day? If not, make today the day all of that changes!