Canada’s Food Guide recommends 7 to 8 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. (A serving is equal to 1 cup of leafy green vegetables or ½ cup of any other vegetable). Recent statistics show that less than 40% of Canadians are eating 5 servings of veggies per day. Take a moment to think: are you meeting that daily guideline?
Eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis is easier than you’d expect; it just takes some pre-planning and some creative thinking.
Veggies for breakfast
Starting your day with vegetables will get you well on your way towards meeting your daily recommended amount. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat a salad for breakfast. Instead, think about making omelettes with spinach, peppers, mushrooms or zucchini. Add a handful of kale to a morning smoothie or shred up carrots and zucchini and bake them into muffins you can quickly grab when you're in a hurry.
Plan your day
It can be easy to lose track of how many vegetables you're eating as the day goes on. When you're busy working and eating whatever is available rather than pre-planning your meals you might reach suppertime and realize you haven’t touched a vegetable all day. Pack vegetables to snack on during the day. Ensure your lunch and supper have at least two servings of vegetables daily by either packing/preparing vegetables or making mindful decisions to have a vegetable choice when you eat out.
Prep vegetables or choose convenience
How many times have you loaded up your fridge with produce from the farmer's market or grocery store and promised yourself you're going to eat healthier? Then you get sidetracked and all those vegetables sit in the crisper until you realize the lettuce has gone limp, the tomatoes overipen and you toss it all in the garbage.
Most vegetables require some sort of preparation such as washing, chopping or grating. Make a habit of doing this prep work as soon as you purchase the vegetables. That way they are ready to eat in the fridge and can easily be added to a dish you are making or taken as a snack-to-go. If you find you don’t have the time for the prep work, purchase pre-washed lettuce or pre-chopped vegetables for a more convenient option.
Use frozen vegetables
Frozen vegetables are convenient, inexpensive and can always be kept on hand. They are a great choice for throwing into casseroles, soups, stews, etc. Or you can always throw them into a boiling pot of water and have vegetables ready to serve with your meal within minutes.
Make vegetables you like to eat
Vegetables shouldn’t be the thing on your plate that you have to eat; they should be the thing you want to eat. There is such a wide variety of vegetables and so many ways to prepare them that even the pickiest of eaters can find vegetables that they love. Have fun with preparing vegetables. Visit the produce section and try out a new vegetable. Experiment with different cooking methods to find the perfect recipe you and your family will love.