This is Lisa Austin and she is the owner of It Fits Personal Training. I approached Lisa to ask if she would share some of her blog articles here on 100Things2Do and she said yes! Better still, she is offering 100Things2Do readers a limited time, DISCOUNTED offer on her “21 Day Rapid Slim Down” program! That would mean that if you start Monday, you could look better, feel healthier and be stronger by April 18th!
Today Lisa is helping us (kids and adults) get more vegetables into your diet with 15 tips and tricks to appease even the most finicky eaters.
*This is a sponsored post from It Fits Personal Training.
We’ve always been told to eat our fruits and vegetables. If you are anything like me when I was a kid, fruit was easy to eat, vegetables on the other hand, that was much more of a challenge. Growing up there wasn’t a variety of foods or they were prepared the same way; corn, peas, and green beans were from a can and we had lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes as a salad in the summer. No wonder I hated vegetables! Now with the internet and social media we can learn all sorts of different quick and simple ways to get more vegetables into your diet. We can easily increase the amount of daily fruits and veggies we consume.
Why Fruits and Veggies?
Because vegetables and fruits are higher in vitamins and minerals than other foods, it increases our body’s intake of these important nutrients and prevents malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies. With an increased intake of phyto nutrients we have a reduced the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers. High intake of antioxidants reduces free radical damage, and strong alkaline potential balances out dietary acids that come from proteins and grains, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Fruits and veggies are also high in fibre, which reduces appetite, increases digestive health and improves the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol and the list goes on.
Yes, you can get vitamins and minerals as a supplement but they are just that, a supplement to your diet and they are not meant to replace foods. You wouldn’t want to rob your body from all the other health promoting benefits you get from the real thing.
Serving Sizes & Daily Recommendations
It is recommended that between 8-12 servings of vegetables and fruits be consumed each day. If you’ve been eating less than this, build up to that amount to gain the confidence that you can do it, instead of trying to immediately force yourself into the 8-12 range.
What constitutes a single serving? One medium-sized fruit, ½ a cup of raw fruits, ½ a cup of raw or cooked vegetables or one cup of raw, leafy vegetables/greens.
An easy way to get more vegetables into your diet is to include at least two servings of vegetables and/or fruits with each meal. An example from a day of meals could look like this:
How does that look?
- Breakfast 2-3 egg omelette with ¼ cup red peppers, ½ cup onions and ¼ cup mushrooms
- ½ cup of pineapple with morning snack
- Lunch salad with 1 cup of spinach, 1 tomato and ½ an avocado
- Mix 1 cup of berries in with your afternoon protein smoothie
- Eat the other half of the avocado along with your dinner
If you’re interested in weight loss, eat more vegetables than fruit, because vegetables are lower in calorie density. A typical ration for this scenario would be five vegetables for every one fruit. If you’re interested in performance enhancement or muscle gain, the vegetables-to-fruit ratio can be closer to three vegetables for each fruit.
Tips to get more vegetables into your diet
Spinach – Start using it in salads by mixing it with other greens or even just with romaine lettuce. Cook it and add it to a stir fry or to stews, scrambled eggs or soup. Add it to your protein smoothie. You can even mix some with a bit of water and process in a blender to make a paste, freeze the paste in ice cube trays and use the ‘spinach ice cubes’ when making your smoothies or sauces and dips.
Hide them – Don’t enjoy the taste of veggies? You can throw them into your protein smoothies along with some fruit and you won’t even taste that they’re in there!
Mix It Up – Make your stews, soups, stir fry, chilli, and tomato sauces with peppers, onions, celery mushrooms and tomatoes. You can also add these to omelettes or quiches; you can cut them up to make a veggie tray and make your own dip or dressing with Greek yogurt and your favourite seasonings to add some protein goodness.
Make Slaw – This works well with more durable veggies, such as carrots, cabbage, zucchini, rutabaga and apples. Grate them up, toss in a handful of nuts, a spoonful of Greek yogurt and a spoonful strong mustard with a pinch of salt to make a healthy and savoury slaw.
Mix and Match – For those who enjoy eating raw vegetables, they can be enjoyed in salads or juiced. You can also use different combinations to find new things you like. Try this to make your own salsa, or your own mix of veggies – like sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with a sprinkle of dill and vinegar.
Cooking Methods – Try different ways of cooking, including steaming, baking with seasoning, sautéing, barbecuing in tinfoil, or grilling. (Many people complain of flatulence issues as the result of eating raw vegetables – this can be avoided if you steam or cook the vegetables.)
Frozen Veggies – So many vegetables can be cut up and frozen to make your own favourite blends of frozen, mixed veggies. Combine with cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beans, peas, onions or mushrooms.
Incorporate Some Fruits
Fresh and Raw – Fruit is wonderful just as it is when it’s fresh. If it looks like it is starting to go bad, there are still so many things you can do to use them up and enjoy their goodness.
Fruit Freeze – You can also freeze fruit. If it’s a type of fruit that goes mushy, they are perfect to freeze and use in smoothies, or for baking into breads or muffins.
Make Salad – Many fruits can be cut up and tossed together to make a delicious, fresh fruit salad.
Warm Fruit – Fruit can be warmed up and used as a glaze or made into homemade jam.
Mix It In – Mixing some fruit into oatmeal, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt is a great way to add extra flavour and sweetness, while adding additional nutrition.
Drink Up – Add some fruit slices or berries into a glass of water. Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to chill your water while adding flavour.
Add to Meats – Apples, pears, plums or peaches can be tucked into chicken breasts or pork tenderloin before roasting.
Make Curry – Mangoes and peaches are the perfect additions to a curry dish.
With all of these suggestions and tips, how could you not get more vegetables into your diet?
Still need help?
Lisa’s 21 Day Rapid Slim Down includes a grocery list, meal plan, success guide and recipe book. It will help you take the decision making out of eating. Lisa also keeps you moving forward with daily reminders to log into the online dashboard. That’s where you will also receive your workouts and daily check-ins to make sure you are staying the course. No supplements, no gimmicks – just small, manageable changes to a stronger, healthier you! For 100T2D readers – Lisa is offering her 21 day program at 46% OFF!
Register now – spaces are limited!