Given that we live in an age of technology and easy access to any information we could ever desire (thanks internet!), but also an age of pervasive chronic illness and an ever present “obesity epidemic,” it is no surprise that the amount of health information at our fingertips these days is often overwhelming. Overwhelming and confusing. In fact, just today I read an article by Dick Talens in which he wrote, “one thing I learned about the [health] industry is that experts—actual experts—are known to argue about everything and rarely come to a consensus.” It just so happens, one of the things I love most about the fields of health and nutrition is the constant debate, the notion that there is no “one size fits all,” and the room for creativity and problem-solving within the science.
That said, there’s a ton of conflicting advice. Eat grains. Don’t eat grains. Dairy is good for you. Dairy is horrible. High fat is the way to go. A low fat vegetarian diet will get you to optimal health. Follow the Mediterranean diet. Follow the Paleo diet. Eat whatever you want as long as it fits your macros . . .
While the information is confusing and conflicting, and most experts don’t agree on much, I think one thing we can all agree on is the powerful benefit of eating plants. That’s right, good ol’ fruits and veggies do wonders for our health, and no credible nutritionist, trainer, or doctor would disagree.
So, in honor of fruits and veggies, here’s a list of 25 ways to include more produce in your day. Enjoy!
1. Top oatmeal with fresh berries.
2. Scramble eggs with spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and onions.
3. Add a sliced banana to granola.
4. Top a whole grain baguette with avocado and pico de gallo.
5. Make apple “nachos” – sliced apples topped with almond butter, coconut flakes, and dark chocolate chips.
6. Blend together spinach, berries, and almond milk for a quick smoothie.
7. Dip celery into peanut butter.
8. Snack on cut veggies dipped in hummus.
9. Order a side salad with lunch.
10. Have a salad for lunch.
11. Make a wrap with swiss chard or lettuce instead of a tortilla.
12. Load a turkey sandwich with spinach, tomato, cucumber, and alfalfa sprouts.
13. Simmer chopped veggies in broth for a light soup.
14. Use tomato slices instead of bread for a sandwich.
15. Have a peach or nectarine with a handful of nuts for a snack.
16. Make caprese kabobs.
17. Use zucchini “noodles” instead of pasta.
18. Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta.
19. Stuff bell peppers with seasoned ground turkey or quinoa.
20. Stir-fry veggies and pair with tofu and rice.
21. Layer zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach into a lasagna.
22. Load kabobs with onions and bell peppers.
23. Top pizza with veggies.
24. Make a fruit salad for dessert.
25. Have chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.
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