Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How to Add Fruits & Vegetables to your Day

Appraising Your Success

The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.

How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week -- How to Add Fruits & Vegetables to your Day

I was surprised to find out that after so many years of having breads and grains at the base of the food pyramid (and expanding American waistlines), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans now recommends eating more fruits and vegetables than any other food group. They suggest that half your plate consist of fruits and vegetables every time you eat! For good reason: colorful fruits and vegetables contain a huge variety of important nutrients your body needs. Some of the key nutrients in fruits and vegetables include: fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. They contain no saturated fat, cholesterol, or other unhealthful components. I always say, “No one got fat eating fruits and vegetables!”

In addition, fruits and veggies come in a huge range of colors, textures, shapes, sizes and packages. Canned and frozen products are convenient and have a long shelf life, and with today’s production methods, they hold onto their nutrition. You need to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies everyday in order to give your body the variety of nutrients it needs. Here are some examples of each color:

· Dark green: broccoli, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, watercress, collard greens, turnip greens
· Green: green beans, celery, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, honeydew melon, asparagus, bok choy, kiwi, zucchini, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, artichoke, bell pepper, lime
· Yellow: bell peppers, squash, corn, lemon, pineapple, banana, star fruit, plaintains, quince
· Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, tangerines, nectarines
· Red: tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, raspberries, apples, watermelon, cherries, radishes, beets, pomegranate
· Purple: egg plant, plums, purple onions, purple cabbage, grapes, figs, blackberries, raisins, prunes
· Blue: blueberries
· White: cauliflower, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, pears, jicama
· Starchy: white potatoes, corn, green peas
· Dry beans: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, split peas, chickpeas, lentils

Here’s a link to what’s in season:

With a colorful array of fruits and vegetables in our heads, the question becomes: how can we incorporate them into our meals? Here are some suggestions:

First of all, here’s a list of simple ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your day:

Next, here’s a per meal breakdown of suggestions:

Breakfast: 100% juice, any fruit, add avocado, onions, bell peppers, or other veggies to eggs; smoothies; raisins in oatmeal, yogurt or bread; add chopped fruit to pancakes or waffles; eat pancakes or waffles topped with fruit or applesauce instead of syrup

Lunch: any fruit; baby carrots, broccoli florets, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, etc. dipped in hummus; lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, avocado, cucumber, or other veggies in a sandwich, veggie soup (or vegetables added into any type of soup, add any leftover cooked veggies to whatever you are eating

Snacks: (same as lunch and) raisins or other dried fruit

Dinner: in addition to having a cooked vegetable as a side dish, have a salad, soup, stir-fry, veggie pizza, grilled veggies, fruit salad for dessert, or add some fruit into a vegetable salad, add veggies to your spaghetti sauce, use spaghetti squash instead of pasta with marinara sauce

In conclusion, enjoy eating a huge variety of colorful fruits and vegetables throughout every day in every way, shape and form.


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