Getting your 5-9 a day is easier than you think

English: Tam phonla mai ruam (Thai script: ตำผ...

English: Tam phonla mai ruam (Thai script: ตำผลไม้รวม) is a mixed fruit salad where the dressing is similar to that used for som tam. The fruits used in this particular salad show the fusion aspect of Thai cuisine, as it incorporates “modern” (for Thais) fruit such as apples and grapes besides traditional fruit such as pineapple and guava. The dressing is made with pounded garlic, sugar, chillies, dried shrimp, lime juice and fish sauce. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was reported on the news a few nights ago that only 13% of people eat enough vegetables. I find that hard to believe. Seems like the produce section is always busy these days!

3-5 servings of fruit, and 4-5 servings of vegetables sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

A serving is half a cup. Except for greens which are a cup for a serving. Now measure out half a cup and you’ll see its not very much at all!

Here’s a bunch of ways to get those servings in easily –

  • 1 glass of juice in the morning.
  • 1 fruit, either at breakfast or for morning snack, or both.
  • Fruit or salad or ½ cup of some sort of veggie at lunch. (you could cover 2 servings here.)
  • Fruit or juice in the afternoon.
  • Tossed salad, or 2 vegetables, or 1 vegetable and one fruit at dinner.
  • Put fresh fruit on your ice-cream or cake.

While you’re waiting for dinner to cook, wash and cut up some fruit and put in containers for easy snacks. (Don’t cut up more than you’ll eat in the next 24 hours. It stays fresher uncut.) Don’t feel guilty about popping a few pieces in your mouth while you’re doing it.

Here are some quick serve choices-

Fruits-Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon, bananas, cherries, fresh pineapple, oranges, tangerines, pears, peaches, apples…

Veggies- Leaf lettuce, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, fresh green beans, all colors of peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, celery, radishes…

Camouflage is OK –

You’ll come across all kinds of healthy eating nuts that believe that you should eat all of your vegetables raw and plain. Salad dressing, butter and salt are all big no-no’s for these extremists. I have some bad news for them. You need some fats for your body to absorb all of the nutrients in the vegetables you’re eating. So There!

And here’s another newsflash – most people won’t eat vegetables at all if they have to eat them plain.

I’m not saying it’s OK to drown your vegetables in butter and salt, but if you toss in a little butter and salt for flavor, it’s OK. If you put regular salad dressing on your veggies, it’s OK. Whatever you need to do to get yourself and your family to eat vegetables, do it. If I serve broccoli salad that contains mayo, and sugar, and bacon, and I get people to eat a cup of broccoli that they never would eat otherwise, so be it.

If you have to have a little sugar on your strawberries, go ahead. It’s better to get the strawberries in than not eating them at all. Growing up, one of my favorite things at breakfast was an orange cut in half and sprinkled with sugar. You’d scoop the orange out with a spoon to eat it like you would a grapefruit. Another favorite was sliced bananas in milk, again sprinkled with sugar. Remember, I was raised by a southern family.

The real problem today is all of the sugars we’re getting in packaged foods. Cut out the packaged foods and fake stuff, and replace with real food and you’ll be just fine. When you use butters, sugars, and salt – use real stuff, and use it in moderation. Extremism never works. Moderation works like a charm!

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