By now we have all learned that increasing our consumption of fruits and more importantly, vegetables, lowers our risk of mortality and disease. However, results from a new study conducted by researches at the University College London have shown that individuals who consume 7 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, reduced their risk of dying by as much as 42% compared with those who consumed only one portion a day.
I know what you are thinking. How on earth can I up my consumption of fruits and vegetables to SEVEN SERVINGS OR MORE a day when I can barely seem to get in the previously recommended 5 servings a day?? Never fear. Here are some great tips for getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet:
1.) Grocery shop wisely. Review my list of recommended grocery items. Stock your fridge full of whole foods. Remember – the first step is getting the fruits and vegetables into your house.
2.) Prepare and plan ahead. Carve out a couple of hours on a Sunday to prep some fruits and veggies for your week. Place mixed berries sprinkled with flaxseed into individual serving containers for quick grabs on your way to work or for a fast and convenient afternoon snack. Take fresh kale off the stems and tear into bite sized pieces. Place your prepped kale in a storage container for adding to a sauté or omelet during the week. Chop fresh carrots (keep the skin on for maximum nutritional benefits), broccoli and bell pepper for healthy, crunchy snacking.
3.) I consider legumes to also count as vegetables and I strongly encourage my patients to consume more of these healthy and versatile foods. Examples of legumes include beans and lentils. Click Here to see some great recipes for using delicious and nutritious legumes.
4.) When eating out, opt for locations that offer salad and fresh vegetables as options. At Chipotle for example, you can opt to get any of your favorite burrito or taco fillings served on a salad, versus in a tortilla or taco shell. Don’t forget to load up on extra vegetable toppings like their fajita grilled peppers and onions.
5.) Eat veggies for breakfast. Already having salads and vegetables at lunch and dinner? How about adding some of those yummy veggies into your breakfast regime? On Sunday, load Egg Muffin Cups up with your favorite veggies, bake them and store them in the fridge for quick breakfasts throughout the week.
With a little creativity and preparation, you too can reap the benefits of consuming 7 or more servings of vegetables and fruits a day!