By: Lauren Glover, RDN
By now, we all know we should be eating fruits and vegetables every day for good health! You’ve probably been hearing since you were a kid at the dinner table about the importance of eating your veggies. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. You may be wondering how to fit that much produce into a 24 hour period. Don’t fret – here are some simple tips and tricks to help you get enough nutrient-packed, disease-fighting, wholesome goodness.
- Re-think your spread: Add half a cup of blueberries to your morning bagel. Spread some low-fat cream cheese on that bad boy and you’ve got yourself a “that’s-what-I’m-talking-about” kind of breakfast.
- No prep required (and no excuses!): Eat a medium sized apple. If you’re feeling fancy, cut it in slices and sprinkle with cinnamon. Or, chop it up into bite-sized pieces and add it to your morning cereal. Side note: Remember to avoid bran cereals, and stick to rice milk to keep phosphorus levels in check.
- Throw some peas on it: Green peas, that is. Half a cup of green peas is a great low-potassium addition to any meal. Throw peas on top of pasta, mix them with rice, or add to your favorite soup.
- Make your crunch count: Layer half a cup of sliced cucumber inside your next sandwich. It will add a crisp, cool, kidney-approved crunch to your lunchtime double-decker. Who needs potato chips anyway?
- Halve your beef and eat it too: Replace half a cup of ground beef with half a cup of raw white mushrooms the next time you make hamburger patties. Chop up the mushrooms and mix them straight into the ground beef. Mushrooms will still provide a “meaty” texture to your burger and will add more flavor. This simple swap will also lower the fat and calories per serving. Make your heart even happier by sticking to lean ground beef, which is anything 90/10 or above.
There you have it! The day is done and from breakfast to dinner you’ve got five easy ways to get your daily dose of “FIVE.” Make sure to follow food safety rules and always wash your produce before eating it. A good rinse under running water works just fine. Also, it is very important to follow the above mentioned portion sizes. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” and eating too much of anything falls in that category.