The American Heart Association recommends that on average, we should eat 3 to 4 servings of vegetables per day and 3 to 4 servings of fruits per day. So that's about 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. One serving size is roughly about the size of a coffee cup. The question is, are we all able to consume this amount of fruits and vegetable each day?
The problem with most working adults today is, nutrition and diet is the least of their priorities. Most people i know just eat to please their pallet and their stomachs. Because of this, many people end up eating unhealthy food all the time and don't get enough fruit and vegetables in their diet. Also, if you are eating out all the time, then there is a higher chance that you are falling short of proper nutrition everyday. Even if you do load up your plate with vegetables in the mamak shop, its not the best vegetables to eat as most of them are overcooked and soaked in oil.
So how do you ensure you get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet each day? Well here are some helpful tips
1) Eat some fruits and vegetables before each meal
Make it a point to chow down some fruits and vegetables of your choice before you start your main meal. The reason is, most people have the good intention of eating fruits after their meals, but end up being too full that they skip the fruits after their meal. So eat it first. Also, this is a great tip for weight loss as it ensures you don't over indulge in your main meal. You fill yourself up with fruits and you are less likely to over indulge in your main meal after that. 2 in 1.
2) Carry fruits and vegetables with you as your snack
You know you are going to get hungry at about 4pm. SO instead of hitting the cafeteria and having a curry puff, why not eat some raw fruits and vegetables. If you are carrying it with you to work, you want to choose fruits and vegetables that a dry and easy to eat. These include carrot sticks, celery sticks, bananas, apples, grapes, oranges etc. These fruits and vegetables are easy to eat and does not cause a mess, so its ideal to carry it with you anywhere you go
3) Mix fruits into your protein shake
If you religiously take a protein shake like me post workout, then this is a good way to ensure you get one good serving. I just tried this the other day. A friend gave me some mangoes from her garden and i decided to experiment with my plain flavoured protein shake. It really tasted great. Any sorts of berries, bananas and mangoes will go well with most shakes out there. So feel free to experiment and see what works for you. You are going to drink your shake anyway, so might as well add in some more goodness to it. Note: If you are mixing fruits into your shake, make sure you consume it within 10 to 15 minutes after you blend it. You don't want to keep it (even in the fridge) for too long as most blended fruits tent to separate and change colour.
4) Have a fruit salad for dessert
Instead of eating a chendol or ABC for dessert, how about having a fruit salad. If you are at home, this becomes even more convenient. Just cut up and mix up a bunch of your favourite fruits, squeeze some lemon juice over it and drizzle a little bit of honey. Give it a quick mix and Voila, a delicious fruit salad that tastes awesome. All you need to do, is stock up your fridge with fruits that you like so you can easily make this anytime. You can also experiment with other kinds of dressings. i am just recommending one that is simple and easy to do.
5) Puree your vegetables and add into your cooking
I read this recipe book called Deceptively Delicious, which teaches parents how to hide vegetables in food and make their kids eat vegetables without them even realizing they are eating it, and one of the best tips i got was making vegetable puree. If you are making dark meat burger patties or meatballs, you can puree some spinach and mix it into your mix before cooking. There are recipes for pureeing cauliflowers and carrots and adding that to your pasta sauce. So this is another way to ensure you get enough vegetables into your diet. I tried adding the spinach puree into my lamb burgers the other day. Couldn't taste any difference. Maybe i shall add a bit more next time and see what happens. Here's a tip. Puree all your vegetables and put them in separate containers and freeze them. When you are cooking, just pull out the one you need, thaw it and it will be ready to use. So this ensure you don't waste too much time cooking and trying to make fresh puree.
So there you have it. Some simple tips to easily incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet for a healthier you. I would still recommend that you take some sort of supplements just in case you still fall short of your daily requirement. What kinds of supplements should you be taking? Well i will cover more of that in next weeks post. For this week, i hope this post has inspired all of you to eat more fruits and vegetables and as you can see, it is easy to do and tastes delicious. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.