(Note: I’m not an expert in nutrition. I’m just sharing my personal experiences and some knowledge bits that I’ve found online.)
Healthy eating is probably one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions every year. But what does ‘Healthy Eating’ mean? Some say carbs are bad for you, others say fat is evil, some say you have to eat every 2-3 hours, others say you should starve yourself for up to 24 hours, some say you have to eliminate salt, others say you have to eliminate sugar. It’s so confusing!
But there is one thing that almost all diets agree on: Vegetables are good for you!
Most dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least five servings of fruit or vegetables a day, depending on your usual caloric intake.
One serving equals:
- 1/2 cup of fruit
- 1 medium piece of fruit
- 1/4 cup of dried fruit
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- 1 cup of leafy vegetables
- 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables
A few weeks ago, I joined the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. Part of this challenge was to aim for seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day. That sounds like a lot, but I quickly got used to it, and it’s even become natural for me now.
So, how do I do it?
First you have to find your favorites, in other words fruit and vegetables that you truly enjoy eating. My current personal favorites are apples, bananas, clementines, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. On the other hand, I really despise celery, fennel, and beets, and I’m allergic to kiwis. I won’t force myself to eat things I don’t like, and in my opinion, you don’t have to, either.
The next step is going to the grocery store and buy those fruit and veggies. That’s kind of obvious. In order to be able to eat a lot of vegetables, you have to buy them first.
The key to getting in seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day is to have one or two servings with every meal or snack. Squeezing all seven servings into one single meal is practically impossible.
Here are some sample meals and snacks, based on my recent eats (that is actually what I ate on last year’s Christmas weekend):
As I prefer a savory breakfast, I usually add some raw vegetables (cucumber or carrot sticks, tomatoes) and a small glass of 100% fruit juice to my usual sandwich. That’s at least two servings of produce already.
For lunch, I prefer something light, like soups or salads. Depending on ingredients and portion sizes, that’s about two or three servings of vegetables per meal.
We often have Korean or other Asian dishes for dinner. That includes exotic sides like seaweed salad, mung bean sprouts, and kimchi (spicy pickled radish). I’d estimate that most of my dinners contain about two servings of vegetables.
Whenever I get hungry between meals, I snack on some fresh fruit (clementines, bananas, apples) or I make myself a smoothie with frozen fruit or defrost a fruit salad mix. That’s one more serving of fruit.
As you can see, it all adds up. With a little practice, eating lots of vegetables and fruit is not that hard. And it’s delicious, I promise!
How many servings of produce do you eat per day? Do you try to eat more vegetables?