The Old Diet Issue is STILL the New Issue: Easy Steps to Up Your Intake of Fruits & Veggies

I’ve had my nutrition practice for 29 years this month! Despite all the new ideas revolving around the best way to eat a healthy diet, some American food patterns haven’t changed in nearly 30 years-namely not eating enough fruits and vegetables. I often ask myself what is going on, because so many clients are adamant that they love fruits and vegetables. Reviewing their food records, however, tells another story. While they may indeed “love” fruits and vegetables, they are not eating enough of them. So, here are some very easy ways to continue tackling this very-longstanding dietary problem sans becoming a vegan:

Apples. Prepare another way! Fall is the time many families pick apples. All those apples do not need to be eaten raw, turned into calorie laden pie, or smeared with peanut butter. Instead, cut up an apple, zap it in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and garnish with dab of whipped cream or ice cream (dab is the operative word here). Now you have a tasty apple disguised as dessert. This is a great way to get a toddler interested in and able to start eating apples even before all the teeth are in. And, for the older crowd, the calories are a lot less than apple pie.

Pumpkin. Eat crust-less pumpkin pie for breakfast!  My three kids loved this breakfast food when growing up. And, I still enjoy it myself.

15 oz. Can pumpkin pie
 1 can evaporated skim milk
 2 large eggs
 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp. ground ginger
 ½ tsp. ground cloves
 ½ tsp. salt
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 cup Bisquick mix

Directions~
Spray Pam or vegetable spray on a glass pie plate. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into pie pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Note: the texture of the crust-free pie is souffle like. The Bisquick mix adds enough texture to the pie to allow it to be cut into pie shaped wedges. Serve plain or top with dab of whipped cream or ice cream.

Berries.  While lots of people think of smoothies as a way to boost your fruit and vegetable intake, most people make it too complicated. I like to include one banana to thicken the smoothie, add a cup of berries, and 3/4 cup skim milk, soy milk, or orange juice. If you want to make it taste like cheesecake, add a small amount of cottage cheese. Straws are necessary. This is great for kids and adults on the run.

Spinach. Add it to lasagna, soups, omelets, or one skillet meals. This evening, my husband made an impressive vegan pasta dish with lots of tomatoes and spinach. It was a “keeper recipe” and used a lot of spinach. One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes.

Getting 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet has a huge impact on the overall nutritional quality of your diet.

What tips do you have for this age old eating problem?

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