Conspiracy theorists aside (THE FOOD PYRAMID IS A LIE!!! etc...), we all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Knowing vs actually doing are very different things though. Busy lifestyles and just not being bothered sometimes (let's be honest) leaves us to not getting all the micronutrients and trace minerals we need from our fruit and veggies (hello junk food!).
Don't worry, I've got you covered - below are some of my favourite tips to slide in your fruits and veggies into your diet without trying too hard. Works on adults and kids alike.
1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yoghurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. I like to sip mine in a thermal cup on the way to work (read: from the kitchen to the couch with my laptop). Or, turn it into a smoothie bowl and Instagram away.
Bonus: To make it even more appealing for kids, use some frozen yoghurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast. #parentingoals
2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to lunch boxes, keep some yoghurt-covered raisins in your desk at work or keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking (keep the trail mix on the down-low if you're not overly active. Trail mix isn't bad but it's high in calories. Great if you're hiking, not to great if you're lying around). You can also add fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning.
3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top your savoury sandwichs with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else you'll eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread. It'll look like a deli sandwich, but it ain't. WINNING!
4. Turn tapas with friends into a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad. I've got a winning recipe for vegan chipotle mayo too.
5. Drink your fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and drink them as a snack. I'm not advocating sugary processed juices, but if you can get "clean" juice or make your own, you're set.
BONUS: Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of their favourite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went.
6. Try this for dessert: put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yoghurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit.
7. Spreads are your best friend. Got hummus? Got peanut butter? Got tzatziki? You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter. Cube some vegan cheese (Violife and Biocheese is a gamechanger I swear) and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with tzatziki or hummus dip. You CAN make friends with salad and veggies. Especially when the hummus is freshly made and sprinkled with smoked paprika on top? OOFFFFT STOP IT.
8. Try something new! You can't say you hate Peru if you've never been! I love trying new fruits when I'm travelling. In Bali I tried snake fruit; it was weird and delicious! I also tried dragonfruit and drank my weight in guava. When you're travelling it's like being 5 years old and discovering everything again for the first time.
"But that's the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know what people are talking about. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again..." - Bill Bryson
Pick something that'll spike curiosity. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.
9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold. I absolutely love this plant-based matzah ball soup recipe.
10. For families: start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise, they lose a turn and Mum gets to pick.
Bonus: When everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.
Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.
One body, one planet, one love x