Written by Tim McComsey, RD, CPT, CEO of TRYM Fit
You know fruits and veggies are important, but you just can’t get enough of them into your diet. Give these tips a try.
“Eat your veggies!” You’ve heard your mom say it and her mother told her the same thing. Your macronutrients, fruits, vegetables, spices, and superfoods are so important in a natural, healthy diet and a body that thrives. Think of it this way: if your macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) are the musculoskeletal system, your micronutrients are the blood cells, neurons, and electricity that keep everything functioning!
Since we all know important, vital nutrients are available in all that leafy green goodness, and we could all use an extra serving or three, here are five ways to make it easier to get more of them into your diet.
Stay Near the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
Because we don’t spend our days gardening, most of us travel to the grocery store to purchase our fresh produce. As soon as we enter the store we are bombarded with really good marketing strategies from companies who put their food in plastic bags, boxes, and cans. If you want to stay focused on the freshest items, keep your cart near the perimeter of the store. Items that will perish the fastest are stocked to the left, back, and right of the store. Once you’ve selected your fresh fruits and vegetables, leave! Unless there are other pressing items on your list, avoid traveling through the aisles where all the temptation awaits.
I for one hate wasting food and money, and as such, I consider the most expensive food to be the food that I throw away. One way to avoid wasting your fresh produce to the garbage and instead consuming your green goodness is to pre-wash and prep your fruits and vegetables. A visible refrigerator shelf with prepared items will increase the likelihood of you consuming those items before non-perishable ones.
Pack as a Snack
How often are you out and about when hunger hits? Instead of buying a meal, pack some of those prepared items in small snack-sized portions. Ever get bored-hungry? Something crunchy within arm’s reach might save you hundreds of extra snacking calories every day! And what about that sweet tooth? If you’re someone who has to have dessert after every meal (*raises hand*), pack a little container of fresh, organic berries. This will not only cut that craving, but give you a nutritional boost that refined sugar cannot and keep your belly flat.
Make it Fun
Eating is an experience. It is how we connect with others, take a break from the routine of the day, and most importantly, fuel our bodies. Because it is such an important part of your day, make it as enjoyable as possible! Healthy food can be fun with just a little thought. Think about getting every color of the rainbow into one bowl: radishes, carrots, yellow peppers, cucumber, blueberries, red cabbage, and grapes, oh my! Okay, so you may not eat all of those in one bowl, but just think how many varieties and options you have to play with. Bumps on a Log always made me smile as a kid, so why not pack it up as an adult?
Redirect the Focus of Your Meal
We have been trained to eat our macronutrients first, and for good reason! They help sustain us, body and mind, between meals. Keeping those vital items in mind, what would your plate look like if you focused first on what fruits and vegetables you were going to consume? Try filling your plate 75% full of fresh produce before layering up smaller, equal portions of your protein, carbohydrates and fat. You will finish your meal feeling lighter, fresher, and full!