• Zero Points, Baby: How and Why to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

    by healthyrefuge on May 18, 2011

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    I don’t know that there is a way to say this without being trite or boring.  None-the-less, the truth sometimes isn’t all “lights and sounds”, huh?  Here it goes.  Fruit and vegetables aren’t just kind of good for you, they are vital for good health.  Tah-duh! Now that you’ve discovered this huge revelation at Thriving Home, hang with me a minute and think about this a little more.  I promise it’s important for you and your family.

    Why Choose to Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables?

    By choosing a diet rich in plants, you are investing not only in how you feel today but also in your future.  What happens if you give your car a fuel other than what is recommended in the owner’s manual?  It doesn’t run as well and will poop out much sooner, right?  The same is true with the way God has designed our body.  (Which by the way, is an incredible gift of which He expects us to take good care of.  Ah, a different post for another day.)  If you’re not giving it the proper fuel, it just won’t function well or for as long as it could.  That being said, here are just a few of the health benefits of eating lots of plants.  We’re talking heart protection, cancer prevention, weight loss, healthy eyes/hair/teeth/skin, and so much more.

    Bottom line from everything I’ve read:  Despite the varying opinions about what constitutes a “healthy diet”, reputable researchers will not dispute the value of eating a mostly plant-based diet. Even Weight Watchers counts most fruits and vegetables as zero points, meaning you can eat to your heart’s content all day long!

    How Much Should I Eat?

    The USDA recommends five total servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but many experts suggest from five to nine total servings.  If you’re wondering what constitutes a serving, check here.  It’s important to not only get enough servings each day but to also get a variety of colors/types in your diet.

    Ok, So How Can I Realistically Do This!?

    Now, on to the hard part…actually doing it.  This is where I’ve found that baby steps have been helpful.  Ask yourself what are one or two baby steps you can take to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Here are a few ways that we’ve taken baby steps:

    1) One of the ways I try to make sure we get enough vegetables in our diet is to have easy to grab raw veggies and hummus in the fridge all the time.  We love to dip broccoli, baby carrots (organic), sugar snap peas, and cauliflower in Tribe All Natural Hummus.  I am going to try yet another homemade hummus this week, but I have yet to make one we love.

    2) Another thing I’ll often do is wash and tear up a ton of organic lettuce at the beginning of the week and put it in the fridge.  Then, I can easily create a salad with a little cheese, sunflower seeds, and craisins (or whatever vegetable toppings we’re in the mood for).

    3) We try to get a jump start on fruits and veggies in the morning by making smoothies.  This is an easy way to sneak in not only fruit, but also vegetables like spinach, pureed pumpkin, or sweet potato.  My 2-year-old and husband request a Green Smoothie many mornings a week.  I promise you can’t taste the “green” if you put enough juice and/or fruit in it.

    These few strategies have made it much harder to find excuses not to include fruits and veggies into snack time and meals.  What strategies have you found helpful?

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    DWL May 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I'm looking forward to a great hummus recipe!!

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