In a world of infinite food choices, it's hard to get adequate servings of vegetables and fruits. While there are the latest slew of veggie and fruit juice drinks, it's better to get whole foods (or at least juice them yourself to avoid excess sugar). An easy trick to getting enough fruits and veggies is to set them on your counter the night before. For example, if you set out 1 orange, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 tomato, and 1 cup of lettuce, you can figure out how to incorporate them into your daily meals. Chop up the lettuce and tomato and throw into a container to bring to work. Pack the fruit to snack on with nuts or yogurt. Think of easy ways to get in good foods. Here are 5 to get today.
1. Blueberries: Toss a handful of these little antioxidant powerhouses into your oatmeal in the morning, or throw into a shake or on vegan waffles for an extra dose of vitamins and minerals to start your day. Blueberries contain potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin A. Aim for organic berries and try to get a handful everyday.
2. Bananas: A great source of potassium, bananas are a great pre-workout snack to provide simple sugars, and they also prevent cramping. Eat a banana by itself before your workout, toss into a smoothie or post-workout protein shake, or slice one up and have with 1 tbs. of organic peanut butter on a piece of toast.
3. Asparagus: This natural diuretic is low in calories and packed full of folic acid, vitamins A, B and C. Toss several stalks, chopped, into an omelet in the morning or lightly steam and serve as a side with dinner.
4. Spinach: Packed full of vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as beta-carotene, this leafy green is a powerhouse and can be thrown into an omelet, tossed into a protein shake, pureed in soups or sauteed in a stir fry.
5. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are full of potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and lycopene. Chop up cherry or grape tomatoes to throw on a salad, add some to a morning omelet or make your own tomato sauce from scratch.
However you incorporate these foods, aim for at least 5 servings of fresh, whole foods daily. Too often, we are eating foods out of a package because we think they are convenient. Fruits are extremely convenient to eat, as are fresh salads, full of raw, chopped veggies. Make it a goal to eat more fresh foods, and see how your health soars.