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4 Easy Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Remember the old food pyramid? When I was growing up, that was the visual aid they used to teach us about healthy eating. Well it turns out that as you age, your nutritional needs change, and eating according to the food pyramid may not be the best way to go. Who knew?

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

I recently learned that the AARP Foundation teamed up with Tufts University to develop a new-and-improved diet recommendation for us “older adults.” :-) It’s called MyPlate for Older Adults, and it breaks down the optimal diet in an easy to understand way. I’ve put together a free downloadable printable of MyPlate, so you can print it out and hang it up in your kitchen as a reminder to eat healthy! (Use the green button below to download.)

But don’t just take it from me! One of my favorite people, “Top Chef” Carla Hall, explains the MyPlate recommendations much better than I ever could in this short video! I had the honor of meeting her a couple of years ago year at a conference and believe me, she knows her stuff!

The first thing I noticed about MyPlate is that about half of the plate is devoted to fruits and vegetables. That’s right, half! I obviously have quite a bit of work to do to get my diet into shape, so I thought I’d put together this post for anyone like me who’s looking for ways to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Here are 4 simple tips that will help you get more fruits and veggies in your diet!

4 Ways To Eat More Fruits & Veggies

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

1. Start Your Day With A Fruit & Veggie Smoothie

Starting your day with a homemade smoothie is an easy way to get a jump start on your daily fruit and veggie intake. You can make smoothies even easier by prepping several single-use smoothie packs at once. Use in-season fruits and vegetables for a simple, affordable, and nutritious breakfast.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

If you’re making a lot of smoothies, it may be worthwhile to invest in a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix. They can break down frozen fruits and veggies in seconds, and they’re great for making soups, sauces, dips, and other foods, too!

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

2. Keep Healthy, Veggie-Packed Meals On Hand

Keep a several servings of a healthy recipe, like vegetable soup, in your fridge or freezer for quick and nutritious meals. I’ve spent the past few weeks mastering my veggie soup recipe, and now it’s one of my favorite things to eat! Here’s the recipe:

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Jillee’s Perfect Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

3 yellow onions, diced
4-5 stalks celery, diced (including leaves)
4-5 carrots, sliced into rounds
4-5 red potatoes, diced
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
2-3 teaspoons chicken bouillon
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Dried thyme
Dried parsley
Water

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Directions:

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery, and cook until softened.

Next, add the chicken stock and carrots to the pot, then bring the mixture to a simmer.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Add the potatoes, kidney beans, tomatoes, and chicken bouillon to the pot, then stir. Next, sprinkle in salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and parsley to taste.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

If the soup seems like it could use more water, add a bit until it achieves the desired consistency.

Simmer the soup until the carrots and potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Serve warm.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

3. Add Flavor With Fresh Herbs And Spices

Fresh herbs are delicious, and can add tons of flavor to your recipes without adding sodium or sugar. Buy them in bulk when they’re in season (which is also when they’ll be least expensive), and freeze them for later! Just rinse them, dry them thoroughly, then store them in a freezer bag. Just cut off what you need, and put them back in the freezer to use later.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Utilizing salt-free spices and spice blends is another way to add flavor without compromising nutrition. Cook Smarts put together an Ultimate Infographic Guide to Spices that can help you figure out what spices will work best with what you’re cooking, and what other spices you can pair them with to achieve fuller flavors.

4. Utilize Quick Tricks For Processing Fresh Fruits & Veggies

Check out these tricks and tips for easily peeling, slicing, dicing, and storing fruits and vegetables. These tips are sure to save you time and effort, so you can spend more time enjoying them!

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Mangoes

You can peel a mango using the rim of a glass drinking cup.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Potatoes

Use an apple slicer to cut potatoes, and you’ll get perfect potato wedges every time! Just season them to your liking and roast them in the oven until the outsides are crispy and the insides are soft.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Avocados

Dice an avocado easily and with less mess by doing it inside the peel. Cut the avocado in half around the pit, then remove and discard the pit. Place a cooling rack over a bowl. Gently press the avocado down onto the cooling rack. Voila – a perfectly chopped avocado!

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Bananas

Bananas ripen more quickly in bunches. If you want to slow down the ripening process, separate your bananas from the bunch and then store them individually.

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Cherry Tomatoes & Grapes

Here’s a neat tip for slicing cherry tomatoes, grapes, and other soft, round foods. Place several of them between two plastic lids, then carefully run your knife between the lids. Quick and easy!

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Leafy Greens

If your leafy greens are looking wilted, but haven’t gone bad, don’t toss them out just yet! Revive them by placing them into a large bowl, along with two cups of ice cold water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Let the veggies soak for an hour, and then they’ll be crisp and ready to eat!

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Eggs, Strawberries, & Mushrooms

Your egg slicer is a great tool for slicing hard-boiled eggs, but you can also use it to easily slice strawberries and mushrooms!

Ways To Get More Fruits & Veggies In Your Diet

Chopped Lettuce

Keep your salad greens fresh for longer by storing them with a paper towel. Just put your chopped lettuce into a bowl, then place a sheet of paper towel right on top. Use plastic wrap to seal off the bowl, then store it in the fridge. The paper towel will absorb excess moisture and keep the lettuce crisp, rather than soggy.

I hope these tips help you start the new year off right by getting more fruits and veggies in your diet. :-) Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

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  • We loved the soup! I put about 1/4-1/3 of it in the blender, pureed it, then added it back to the soup. It made the soup have a nice creamy texture.

  • Hi Jillee,

    Do you think your Vegetable Soup could be made in the Instant Pot? If so, what would you guess would be the best time and pressure release? Thank you. Happy New Year (belated)!

    • Yes, you’d just have to sauté the onions and celery in a pan first, then add it and the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot! 3 or 4 hours on low should do the trick! :-)

  • Happy New Year Jillee. I have been cooking for over 45 years and I just love learning new and better techniques to incorporate in the kitchen. Thank you for your instructive blog.

  • I looked at that plate and I think aarp needs to read Dr. Perlmutters The Grain Brain. Dr. Perlmutter is a nuerologist, that took his alzheimers patients off grains and his patients improved considerably.

    • I know. Grains and sugars are now being proven to be causing the health problems that red meat and fats have been blamed for for decades now. Thanks for trying to spread the word.
      Plus there is so much sugar in fruit. 3 plates a day that are 1\4 fruit, plus the grains which convert quickly to sugar… Nice way to encourage diabetes and weight problems.
      AARP is leading a lot of people down a dangerous path.

      • You are completely right. Most people still believe saturated fat is the enemy. It’s not. We need it, it’s good for us. And do not ever eat low fat! Here are some more books to read:

        Deep Nutrition
        Wheat Belly
        The Big Fat Surprise

      • I am diabetic (for 40+ years) plus raised a diabetic daughter (diagnosed at age 12). I do not believe that eating a healthy amount of foods containing sugar “encourages” diabetes. A diabetic is generally predisposed and their metabolism doesn’t properly process sugar and they are insulin resistant. For years people have tried to “blame” this food or that food group for man’s health issues. There is nothing wrong with eating a variety of foods. It is OVER-eating one particular food that causes problems. We do need some sugars that quickly give us energy, some foods that slowly release sugar for the long term, and fats and oils. Meats and the fat from them are what helps our body to rebuild any damage in our bodies. If we would just eat a moderate amount of a variety of foods, rather than picking our diet apart, we may find it suits us just fine!

  • And you can easily make your own broth as well. No need to buy it! I make batches of chicken and beef broth and then put the broth into canning jars, being sure to leave a couple inches from the top for expansion, and then put it into the freezer. Then when I need some broth I just pull out a jar. I typically make anywhere from 4 to 6 jars at a time. Sometimes I boil the broth way down so it’s very, very flavourful and then put the cooled broth into ice cube trays. I add those to stir fries or whatever could use a little flavour punch. I try avoid using soya sauces, boullion cubes etc. With the broth you can either add salt before you freeze it or add salt when you are using it. Easy as can be and oh so much better than the store bought stuff.

    • Me too! I try to remember to save onion skins and ends of carrots, hearts of cabbage, and other veggie throw away parts, which I freeze and then add to meat bones when making stock.

    • I do this too! I add lots of herbs to my broth along with celery, onions, and garlic. Very flavorful and sooo good! Been doing this for years. I giggle a bit when I see posts about buying and making bone broth.. like it’s the “new” thing. My grandmother boiled bones to make broth.. not new at all!

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