22 Easy Ways to Eat Fruits and Veggies Every Single Day

Americans' diets are getting worse. But make a few changes, and you can fill up on fruits and vegetables every day without even trying.

November 22, 2011
1/11
Eating Fewer Veggies Than Ever
Many Americans have been told since preschool that getting five daily servings of fruits and vegetables is essential for health. Despite this common knowledge, it seems we don't eat fruit and vegetables as often as we should...or even as often as we used to. A recent Gallup poll found that only 55.9 percent of Americans are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days out of the week. Last year, the same poll showed that 57.8 percent of Americans were getting these servings. The 1.9 percent drop may not seem like much, but it equates to millions of Americans not getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. To up your numbers, follow these easy tips and you'll get your daily dose in no time! And remember to buy organic to avoid pesticides and toxic chemicals.

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2/11
Think Outside the Bin
• Make them more interesting. Sauté some veggies with olive oil and add your favorite spices. Dunk them in your favorite dressing, hummus, or low-fat dip.

• Buy them small. Throw baby carrots or grapes into a bag and take them with you for an easy snack on the go. The tiny versions of most vegetables actually tend to be sweeter and have more flavor in each bite.
3/11
Load Up Your Basket and Your Plate
• Have a shopping spree at the farmer's market. When fresh fruits and veggies surround you, you're more likely to purchase them. To stock up, hit a local farmer's market first (winter farmer's markets are more popular these days) and buy as much of your food as you can there, where there's less opportunity to also buy cookies or chips.

• Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Make that a habit, as depicted on the new USDA food guide, and you'll be well on your way to getting one to two servings in a single sitting.

Read More: 12 Fish You Should Never Eat
4/11
Slurp 'n Snack
• Go ahead and slurp your soup. Soup is a satisfying way to serve up some vegetables if you're looking for new menu options. Fresh pea soup is just as good with frozen peas as fresh, and get a taste of summer, no matter what time of year, with refreshing summer gazpacho.

• Eat them in other places. Eating your fruits and veggies away from the table can make them seem less like a mandate and more like just another snack. Keep some grapes or cut-up carrots handy so you'll have something to munch on while you're surfing the Web, flipping channels, or talking on the phone.
5/11
Cook!

• Cook more meals at home. Cooking at home more often gives you the option to use healthier ingredients, and it saves you money, too. Whip up some veggie-filled, freezer-friendly casseroles. Or come up with a meal plan that lets you cook once and eat for an entire week. For example, this one-sheet-pan recipe lets you make a week's worth of lunches in one go:



• Put them in muffins and breads. Grate some carrots or scoop dried cranberries or raisins into your next batch of baked goods to add another fruit serving to your day. Try some Spicy Carrot Muffins, Zucchini Apple Bread, or Blueberry Bread.

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6/11
Make Them Whole, And Visible
• Eat them whole. The peels of most fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which many Americans are lacking in their diets. Eat them skin and all and you'll be getting extra benefits. (Not recommended for bananas or pineapples.)

• Keep them visible. If your fruit is in a bowl on the kitchen counter, you'll be much more likely to grab it after your busy day, rather dive into the bag of chips hidden in the pantry.

• Go frozen. When you're in the supermarket, always head straight to the fresh produce section, since whole, unprocessed produce is the ideal way to get every nutrient benefit. But whenever you can't seem to get your hands on the real thing, hit the frozen food aisle for equally nutritious, and possibly cheaper, alternatives.
7/11
Mix 'Em Up
• Whip up some smoothies. Whether it's strawberry-banana, green tea and blueberry, or a fruit and veggie mix, smoothies are an easy way to drink up your fruit and veggie servings.

• Add them to entrées. With some experimenting, you can probably find plenty of opportunities to sneak some veggies into recipes you already make. Some ideas: adding cut-up veggies to a pasta dish or stuffing chicken or fish with spinach, garlic, and spices.
8/11
Start Healthy
• Have some salsa. Snack on chips and fresh salsa, or add salsa to a salad or recipe. Make all kinds of homemade healthy salsas using fresh tomatoes or jarred, green or red, or even fruit!

• Try a healthy app. Next time you sit down at a restaurant, try a starter salad instead of a calorie-packed appetizer. That way, you will initially fill up on vegetables, and have less room for the extra fat and calories in the main course. Since most restaurant portions are way too big, bring home the extra to enjoy at another meal.

Read More: 5 Ways to Cook Vegetables without Losing Their Nutrients
9/11
Get Creative
• Grill 'em. At your summer barbecue, next to your standard grill-friendly foods, slice up a pineapple, peach, eggplant, or zucchini, and grill those, too! There are dozens of veggie-heavy meatless grilling ideasyou can try any time of year.

• Buy fresh, eat fast. If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables, you'll only have a few days to eat them before they go bad. This could very well be motivation to put them on your plate ASAP.

Read More: 67 Ways to Be Healthier in a Minute or Less!
10/11
Have Your Cake...
• Try them dried. Even though eating fresh fruits will give your body more nutrients with less processed sugar, you can enjoy a small amount of dried fruit as a snack or salad topper and get almost as many vitamins and minerals as are in the fresh kind. Make sure you are aware of the portion size, though, because most times it's only a quarter cup. You can also use dried fruits, like dates, as sweeteners in baked goods, instead of sugar.

• Then, have your cake with fruit. If you top your ice cream, pie, or cake with fresh berries, that counts as a serving, believe it or not. That's not an excuse to eat extra dessert, of course, but it does make your dessert a more healthful. A better way to think of it is to have your fruit with cake. The majority of the treat should involve the healthy stuff.
11/11
Make Substitutions
• Buy them frozen. When you're in the supermarket, always head straight to the fresh produce section, since whole, unprocessed fruit is the ideal way to get every nutrient benefit. But whenever you can't seem to get your hands on the real thing, buy frozen. Fruits and vegetables have just as much nutrition when they're as they do when they're fresh. Keep a few bags in your freezer so you always have some onhand.

• Buy them prepackaged. If it's the hassle of preparation that's holding you back from eating your veggies, buy them pre-chopped, pre-peeled, or in premade salads.

• Think jars. Jarred tomatoes, sugar-free applesauce, and or fruit preserves with low sugar will all suffice when fruit is too expensive or not in season. Be sure to keep tabs on the calorie, sugar, and sodium content of these foods, however, despite the labels.

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