There’s a lot of talk these days about making sure we eat enough fruit and vegetables. Google the topic, and you’ll get plenty of information. There’s even a calculator here, posted by the Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/fruitsvegetables/howmany.html
Most of the research lands somewhere around this advice: eat at least nine total servings of fruits and veggies every day (a little heavier on the veggies than the fruit) to keep your “engine” running nicely. Wow, really, nine? Yep, and the truth is it’s not so hard to do once you do a little experimenting. If you’re ready to give “Nine a Day” a try, here are a few tips that might help.
- Begin at breakfast: Broccoli for breakfast? Maybe not, although I’m not sure where we got the idea that our days must begin with a carb loaded meal devoid of anything green. If you must have coffee and a donut, at least consider adding an apple to the mix. And if you’re feeling adventuresome, eat last night’s leftovers or a bowl of soup instead. You’ll probably last longer on that meal than on the typical bowl of oat-ee-oh’s.
- Do double duty: When you sit down to a meal, whether it’s one you order or one you prepare, serve yourself two, or even three, different kinds of vegetables. Steam or roast several varieties at once. Have a salad and the green beans…You get the picture.
- Stick ‘em in a smoothie. Smoothie recipes abound. To be honest, some of the ones I’ve tried are downright nasty. Some, though, hit the spot and keep my energy up for hours. Try a few until you find one that’s right for you. Focus on berries and bananas for sweetness, though, and stay away from sugar.
- Sneak ‘em in as snacks. I am actually quite happy to eat raw snow peas, carrots, celery or zucchini when hunger strikes, so long as I have a healthy dip on hand. Make it or buy it, but absolutely try it!
- Use seven for salads. Salads don’t have to be boring bowls of greens. Start there, but add chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, chopped grapes or apples, coleslaw mix, diced squash, shredded carrots, raisins, avocado, black beans, chick peas, corn, peas…I find that once I’ve counted seven items in my bowl, I’m going to be happy chowing down on my creation. (Watch out for heavy salad dressings, though!).
As you go about adjusting to the number nine, remember that your body belongs to the Lord. You’re doing your part to prepare for whatever he has for you to do today. And, of course, he created all that produce in the first place. One of these days you’ll discover that it’s delicious!