Produce is something we should all be getting more of when it comes to preparing meals for the week. We may feel like we are getting enough but maybe we aren’t getting the variety we should. Here are some tips on how to be sure you are picking produce at each meal and reaping the benefits of variety by way of multiple different vitamins and minerals.
- Half Your Plate. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal and snack.
- Add More. Add extra fruits and vegetables to dishes, even if they already contain/call for them in the recipe.
- Substitute. Substitute fruits & veggies in any meal – they’re lower in calories than many other foods.
- Stay Stocked. Always stock fresh and frozen fruits & veggies for quick meal prep. Choose frozen fruit and vegetables without added sugar, sodium, cream sauces, or other ingredients that will add calories.
- Steam & Flavor. Steamed vegetables make great sides. Add flavor with healthy fats, herbs, and spices.
- Grab & Go. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables in easy-to-grab places.
Tips by Each Meal:
- Add in spinach, onions, or mushrooms in your scrambled eggs or omelet in the morning. This will add fiber and micronutrients.
- Make a batch of Zoats. These are simple and easy to make using zucchini instead of oats in the morning.
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup zucchini grated (~1/2 of a small zucchini)
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tbsp flax meal
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- optional toppings: raw almonds seeds, fresh berries, nut butter
- Get up 10 minutes early or plan an on-the-go nutritious breakfast (including fruits or vegetables) the night before.
- Make veggies hash browns using cauliflower, zucchini, carrot, or sweet potato grated and cooked stove top like a traditional hash brown.
- Make waffles using cauliflower rice.
- Coconut oil, for greasing
- 1c cauliflower rice
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/2c almond flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tbsp flaxseed meal
- Preheat a waffle iron to medium heat and grease generously with coconut oil.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are smooth.
- Pour a third of the batter (about ½ cup) into the waffle iron and cook for 5 minutes or until thick and golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Reduce the amount of meat or cheese on a sandwich by ½ and replace with veggies.
- Chicken or tuna salad – add an equal amount of chopped fruits or veggies such as celery, grated carrots, cucumber, or bell pepper
- Add strawberries cut in half or 1 sliced apple to a nut butter sandwich.
- Replace pasta in soups with veggies.
- When eating out, chose veggies as a side substitute.
- When making homemade pizza or eating it out add extra veggies on top.
- Have an extra serving of veggies or salad with your dinner
- Replace ½ pasta portion with vegetables
- Stir-fry veggies with chicken instead of other starchy foods
- Make chili with ½ the beans and replace with veggies
- Make a portabella mushroom or black bean burger instead of your traditional hamburger
- When making any type of a casserole, sauce, or chili add in extra veggies to add more fiber and micronutrients.
- 1 cup of whole strawberries AND 1 cup of carrots with 1/4 cup of homemade hummus or greek yogurt dip.
- Pop a few strawberries, blueberries, carrots, broccoli, or any other ‘popable’ fruits & veggies; they’re great options to snack on as is.
- Make fruit kabobs or fruit popsicles.
- Try hummus with carrots, celery, cauliflower, or other vegetables.
- Guacamole! It’s heart healthy and delicious. The sky is the limit on this because you can always sneak in a little extra veggies in the mix.
- You can also add in veggies like zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, etc when baking. You can easily add them into breads, waffles, pancakes, donuts, cakes etc.
Other tips and tricks:
- Feature a fresh new vegetable each week: Try to experiment with a new seasonal vegetable (or fruit) each week. If you have a local farmers market you should take advantage of it and try new produce you’ve never seen before.
- Say yes to salads: This is the perfect way to incorporate as many different veggies and fruits as you can. Think lots of color and flavor!
- Satisfy yourself with a Smoothie: Make your smoothie work for you! You can add all the things in a smoothie to get the most of it with greens, cooked sweet potato, cauliflower, zucchini, and really the sky is the limit.
- Dig into Dips: Take your homemade dips to another level by adding in veggies straight into the dip and then dip your veggies in.
- Crunch on Veggies Chips: You can pretty much get creative with any veggies here and make chips with them by cutting them thin and baking them in the oven.
- I like to use a mandoline slicer for this like this one: Mueller Mandoline Slicer
- Bag the Bread: Use a bigger types of leaf lettuce as your bread next time you make burgers or sandwiches. Use types like: bibb lettuce, romaine, red lettuce, cabbage, or radicchio and pile on the fixings. You can even ask most restaurants when you are out to eat to see if they have that option.
- Nix your Noodles: Use spaghetti squash and Zucchini noodles as your pasta the next time you are craving pasta.
- Another brand I like to use that is at most whole foods is https://cecesveggieco.com