Dinner Diva: Eat your veggies! No, I mean it

Hands up if you eat the 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies as recommended by the USDA or the 7-10 daily servings recommended by Canada’s Food Guide.

I’m not seeing many hands!

But the truth is, folks, there’s a reason why the government wants us to get in all those leafy greens and juicy fruits. A diet rich in fruits and veggies protects us against obesity, diabetes, cancer and a slew of conditions and diseases. Vegetables and fruits lower blood pressure and decrease bone loss. They give us essential vitamins and nutrients that we can’t get anywhere else.

We all know this, but according to a study I came across recently that was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 89% of Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables. Using that statistic, only 11% of you have your hands up right now.

That study also concluded that 25% of people don’t eat any vegetables ever and 62% of people don’t eat fruit. Ever. EVER.

Now, I know it’s hard to get 5 servings of the good stuff in every single day, but here are some tips to help you get the most bang for your veggie bucks.

• Whenever you can, buy vegetables and fruits that are grown locally.

• Have frozen veggies on hand and eat them towards the end of the week when your fresh stash has been depleted.

• Every week when you’re at the supermarket or farmers’ market, pick up a new fruit or vegetable to try that week. You might stumble upon a new favorite!

• Buy veggies like sweet potatoes, spinach, beet greens and lima beans frequently because of their high levels of potassium.

• Add a great big salad to your dinner every single evening.

• Puree your leftover cooked vegetables and save it for thickening soups and stews.

• Grate carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes into meatloaf.

• Add a smoothie to your daily diet and that should take care of your fruit intake. Toss in some kale or spinach and voila! You’ve managed to get in some veggies, too!

Do you have any other tips to share to help those 89% of folks get their veggies and fruits into them?

More from Dinner Diva Leanne Ely at www.SavingDinner.com.

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