(StatePoint) It’s no secret that the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are a key to good health -- from building immunity, to decreasing inflammation, to helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Luckily, there are many ways to ensure you incorporate a sufficient amount of produce in your diet to fuel your day and help you feel great:
Have the urge to snack? Satiate hunger while upping your fruit and vegetable intake. Mimic the shape and crunch of chips with carrot or cucumber slices. Then pair them with a vegetable or legume-based dip such as salsa or hummus.
Have a Smoothie
“Over the course of the day, it can be challenging to eat the appropriate amount of quality fruits and vegetables, particularly for busy adults and young kids,” says Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, a sports dietitian and nutrition consultant for Tulane University Athletics. “If you’re on the go or a picky eater, a smoothie is the ultimate solution -- just be careful though, not all of them are as nutritious as they seem.”
You can build a better smoothie if you’re careful. A good start is to incorporate fresh vegetables like carrots and kale.
For a meal replacement or a boost of energy, make sure your smoothie contains all the elements of a proper meal. One tasty option is Smoothie King’s new line of Greek Yogurt Smoothies made with Greek yogurt and real fruits and vegetables.
Available in Strawberry Blueberry, Pineapple Mango and Carrot Orange, they’re a good source of protein, probiotics and calcium and contain less than 350 calories. They can also be a great option for kids too, as they are nutritious and tasty.
Additionally, you can often customize smoothies to meet your specific needs or goals -- whether you’re a body builder needing to recover post-workout, a dieter attempting to lose weight, or you’re just looking to improve overall health. For example, with Smoothie King, you can add an “Enhancer,” to improve focus, energy, immunity and more. More information and nutrition tips can be found at www.SmoothieKing.com/menu/smoothies/.
Go for a Salad
If your favorite midday meal is heavy on bread, consider swapping out some of those carb-heavy calories for greens. With the right ingredients, a salad can be fully satisfying.
For example, use dark leafy greens in place of iceberg lettuce and don’t forget to incorporate some protein -- lean meats, fish nuts, seeds, beans and certain vegetables like broccoli and artichokes can up your intake.
Also, consider starting your dinner with a salad. It will help you feel full faster.
With a few tweaks throughout the day and mindful eating, you can increase your fruit and vegetable intake with ease.
Photo Credit: (c) Maridav - Fotolia.com