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Habit of the Week #3 - Eat More Fruits and Veggies!

For the first two weeks of this year, we've been working on drinking more water and less soda and other sugary drinks. This week, we're going to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, and they help prevent heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, and protect against vision loss. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to add more of these to your diet!

My daughter Christina snacking on a mandarin orange

To get started, get your daily planner out, and write, "Eat more fruits and veggies!" as this week's new habit. Start planning some meals and snacks that add up to five to nine servings a day. It will take a little planning to make sure you have your bases covered if you're not used to eating like this.

For more info on how eating more whole foods can change you for the better, read my post, "Change Your Diet, Change Your Life! "

Here are some ideas to add more fruits and veggies to your life:

Breakfast - make a veggie scramble with two eggs, chopped asparagus, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, and have some fruit on the side, like fresh berries, a banana or a tangerine. Another idea is a Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola bowl topped with some slivered almonds and walnuts. Yum! Or try one of my daughters' favorite breakfasts: avocado toast and a fried egg.

If you would like to jump ahead and see the whole list of 52 simple changes to work on this year for a new and improved you, click here.

Lunch - have a delicious salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, berries, nuts, and grilled chicken, or try a sandwich with some meat and lots of lettuce, sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes and avocado. Add a banana or tangerine for dessert!

Dinner - along with your main course have some stir-fried or steamed veggies or a nice salad.

Snack ideas - fruit smoothies, carrot sticks, celery with peanut butter, sliced veggies with hummus or dip, or fruit (such as apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, cherries) with a piece of cheese or some nuts.

My favorite smoothie recipe!

If this seems too radical for you, start by changing one meal at a time. For me, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I eat a good breakfast, I feel great! If I eat a donut and a sugary coffee drink, I feel lethargic and foggy, and I get hungry again way too soon. Work toward getting your breakfast right first to set the right tone for the rest of the day. Then work on adding more fruits and veggies to your lunches, dinners, and snacks. For ideas on how to make tasty vegetable dishes, try The Classic Vegetable Cookbook or Eating By Color.

Write down in your food journal what you plan to eat, what you actually eat, and how you feel after you eat it. You can use an online food journal like Cronometer, which does a great job of breaking down all the nutrients in everything you eat. Keep working on drinking more water and less sugary drinks, and make a note of how you feel. As you keep working on these new habits, they will get easier in relation to how consistent you are. Don't beat yourself up if you fall down once in awhile. Just focus on getting yourself back on track. It's not about perfection; it's about shifting your habits gradually toward something healthy and sustainable.

What's your favorite fruit or vegetable? How many servings are you currently getting every day? Do you have some other ideas on how to add more fruits and veggies to your diet? Feel free to share in the comments below.

If you would like to jump ahead and see the whole list of 52 simple changes to work on this year for a new and improved you, click here.

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