Fruits and vegetables are a cornerstone to good health there is no doubt. However, many people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. So how can we improve fruit and vegetable intake for good health? These 6 strategies will show you the how.
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Strategies for improving fruit and vegetable intake
You can learn more about the importance of vegetables here: Reasons why vegetables are good for you!
1. Being a fan of variety
Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for health. However, eating the same type of fruits or vegetables each day will make the diet boring. You may even start avoiding some meals because of that one vegetable or fruit you have been overeating. So, what is the solution? Variety!
Studies show that you can boost your fruit and vegetable intake by varying your diet.
Having a wide range of fruit and vegetable options increases your probability of eating more fruits or vegetables. I mean if there is a table full of different fruits and vegetables, you can choose something you like, right? With a lot of options, it’s easier for you to eat fruits and vegetables in every meal. This is because it becomes easy to select a different fruit and vegetable for each meal. Whilst there is a cost factor involved, this strategy makes the diet less repetitive. This is one of the best strategies for improving your fruit and vegetable intake.
How do you widen your fruit and vegetable options?
Cost may be a hindrance to a healthy fruit and vegetable intake. This is because the desire to vary the diet may be there but the cost may be too high for you. In such a case you must identify easily available fruits and vegetables. You must list down those you can afford to buy, grow or forage.
Listing them down helps you in determining how you can add variety with what you have.
Make use of foraging wild vegetables. Wild vegetables may not be the best tasting but they are healthy. And the best thing is that you only need time for harvesting and cooking. Wild fruits and vegetables can be an excellent addition to your diet at almost no cost.
2. Cook at home rather than eat out
Cooking what you eat is the best way for you to gain control of your diet. Eating out usually means that you have to make do with what’s on the menu. You also have a higher probability of resorting to cheap and unhealthy foods. And not many people like to spend money on a fruit and vegetable meal!
At home, you have the freedom to prepare food in advance and store it in freezers. At mealtimes, you can prepare as many fruits and vegetable dishes as you can manage. You can also add any fruits and vegetables you like to each meal. All this helps in keeping the fruit and vegetable intake high.
Cooking at home gives you the freedom to experiment with your food. You learn to identify the perfect fruit and vegetable combinations that work for you. You also can pick different condiments, and vegetables you prefer for each meal and occasion.
It’s also easy to control the fruit and vegetable quantities you take at home. You have the freedom to eat more or less of certain fruits and vegetables. And you can practise eating by colour by trying a variety of different coloured vegetables. For different coloured fruits and vegetables bring different benefits to your health!
To improve your fruit and vegetable intake try eating what you cook.
3. Try different methods of preparing fruits and vegetable
I have noticed that cooking and preparing any food using the same method all the time is not that funny. It may be the best recipe but repeat it 4 to 5 consecutive times and you will get bored. In extreme cases, you may start hating that food.
Mixing things up will make it easier to incorporate different foods into your diet. For example, you can try fresh fruits or dried ones in separate meals. You can also take pickled, frozen or boiled vegetables instead of fresh ones. You can also try, semi-cooked and raw fruits and vegetables in separate meals. One more way is to try taking fruits and vegetables in salads. This ensures that you don’t get bored of the same preparation method for your fruits and vegetables.
Prepare your fruits and vegetables differently
These are not the only ways in which you can try eating fruits and vegetables. You need to be an explorer and experimenter. There are many ways in which you can improve fruit and vegetable intake whilst making it enjoyable.
You can also try making homemade fruit and vegetable juices as well as the popular smoothies. There are also some whole fruit and vegetable powders. You can try these when the preferred vegetable is out of season or is not easily available. Also, you don’t have to gobble all the fruits from your orchard or because you bought them at a discount. You can dry them, pickle or can them for future usage.
Also for your vegetables, you can try dried, fermented or pickled ones instead of boiling or frying all the time. You can also use peanut butter to soften your vegetables instead of cooking oil. I have eaten dried vegetables like kale, cabbage and rape in peanut butter and they were awesome. I have also eaten pumpkin leaves in peanut butter and I don’t regret it.
4. Use seasonings and spices when preparing your fruits and vegetables
The use of herbs and spices as food condiments is not something new. These food condiments help in adding different flavours to our foods. They may help mask the undesirable tastes of certain foods. They also help in improving the taste of our food. So, any food prepared with different seasonings and spices becomes less boring and monotonous. So, one of the best ways to improve fruit and vegetable intake is through the use of seasonings.
You can try different herbs like coriander, parsley, mint, thyme and peppermint in your diet. Ginger, garlic and turmeric can also help improve the taste of your vegetables.
Spices like nutmeg, mustard, black pepper, grains of Selim and calabash nutmeg are the other options you have. However, they are not the only options!
5. Improve fruit and vegetable intake through technology
Whilst most people think that technology is humankind’s worst curse, some believe it is a lifesaver. Technology has made life less complicated and much easier. And we can use it to improve our fruit and vegetable intake! But, how?
You can easily browse for recipes on the internet and get a step by step guide. This will help you try many different dishes and food preparations for your fruits and vegetables. You can use mobile applications, social networks, tv shows and photos to get healthy eating inspiration.
You can also use technology to educate yourself on how you can live healthfully. There are many healthy books, blogs and applications that can help you get started. You can even learn how to grow vegetables, fruits and spices in your backyard garden.
6. Make use of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables
Some fruits and vegetables are not always available throughout the year. Some are seasonal, some perennial and some are even biennial. So, you have to make use of certain fruits and vegetables when they are in season. You can also store some for later.
There are many seasonal vegetables and fruits that you can try. Some of the healthiest wild varieties include amaranth, jute, cowpea leaves, blackjack and cat’s whiskers. You can dry some of the vegetables for later. You can also pickle, blanch and dry or can some. This will help you have a constant supply of fruits and vegetables when they are out of season.
Conclusion on strategies to improve your fruits and vegetable intake
If eating fruits and vegetables is healthy, then improving intake should boost your health. These strategies can help you boost your fruit and vegetable intake. If you have some of your own, please leave a comment down below.