According to the CDC, a diet with more fruits and vegetables along side a balance of lean proteins, whole grains, and nuts is a “safe and healthy way to lose or maintain weight“. Additionally, fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer and chronic diseases. However, this doesn’t mean you need to eat nothing but celery or can smother your broccoli in cheese. Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet must be done properly in order to gain the benefits. Here are a few pointers:
To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses. It’s easy to create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. Here are some simple ways to cut calories for each meal:
- Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches or strawberries.
- Substitute spinach, onions or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half the cheese you would have in an omelet.
- Add a cup of chopped vegetables such as carrots in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup.
- Substitute vegetables such as spinach, green peppers, cucumbers or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap or burrito.
- Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. Remember to use a normal- or small-sized plate, and avoid larger platter-sized plates.
- Swap 1 cup of chopped vegetables for 1 cup of pasta or rice in your favorite dish.
- Try hummus and baked tortilla chips with salsa instead of chips and dip.
- Top a cup of low-fat, plain yogurt with fresh, sliced fruit.
- Store cleaned, cut-up vegetables in the fridge at eye level and keep a low-fat or fat-free dip on hand.
TIPS ON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FOR CHILDREN
Fruit and vegetable consumption is crucial for children, especially if they are overweight. It can be difficult to persuade them to eat fruits and vegetables, especially when there are so many other attractive high-calorie options Below are some ideas for encouraging healthy eating:
- Pack a 100% juice box in their lunch instead of soda pop.
- Make fruit kabobs with pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes and berries.
- Decorate plates or serving dishes with fruit slices.
- While shopping, allow children to pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try with dinner.
- Most importantly, set a good example by eating fruits and vegetables yourself every day.
Remember, substitution is the key. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of some other higher-calorie food, and your body will thank you!